Prune’s progress: our new columnist enters the baffling world of wine PR

Pic: Lum3n, Pixabay

I am such a lucky girl. I have landed the best job in the world: PR executive for a wine PR agency.

I arrived early on my first day, about nine thirty, and asked for my new boss, Helena.

While I was waiting I had a peek around the office and felt at home straight away. All the girls in there could have been my sisters: they’re all blondes! Amazing!

‘You must be Prune,’ Helena said.

‘That’s me,’ I said. ‘I should have been Margaux but Pops said I looked more like a prune when I was born.’

Helena didn’t laugh, which is odd. Everybody loves that story.

‘My dog is called Margaux,’ I said. ‘Second time lucky.’

A tough crowd…

Helena still didn’t laugh.

‘Pops says hello, by the way. I know you are a friend of his. But of course, I suppose you don’t call him Pops!’

She stopped and faced me. ‘I don’t,’ she said. ‘You father is one of our biggest clients. And he’s very influential in the wine trade.’

‘I know!’ I said. ‘I felt so lucky when he told me you had a job for me.’

Helena looked at me without saying anything for an awfully long time.

‘I’m really looking forward to working here, you know,’ I said. ‘I love wine.’

Helena gave me a strange look.

‘That won’t be enough,’ she said. ‘This business is hard work.’

There was a pause while she picked some fluff off her jacket. 

‘Especially when you have to carry a load of dead wood…’

I was not sure what she meant but I nodded all the same. Pops did warn me that I might find Helena a bit scary.

Someone called Clemency showed me my work station and my new laptop.

‘I think I’ll bring my Mac in,’ I said. ‘I’ve not really used it since Pops bought it for my birthday.’

‘Macs are the best,’ Clemency said. ‘You’ll have to use this old thing though. Your Mac won’t connect to the server. Helena is a bit mean when it comes to buying proper kit.’

I made a note to ask what the server was. I didn’t want to sound stupid straight away.

Gallo. Gaja. Whatever

At one o’clock Clemency came to take me to lunch and we took a bottle of Gallo wine from the Eurocave.

‘You’d better get used to it,’ Clemency said. ’You’ll be working on the account.’

‘That’s great, I said. ‘I love Italian wines!’

Clemency burst out laughing. She’s definitely my type of girl.

‘Gaja,’ I said once we’d sat down. ‘I remember now. That’s Pops’ favourite Italian wine. I knew the name rang a bell.’

‘This is Gallo, not Gaja,’ Clemency said. ‘And it’s not Italian either.’

‘Gosh, this is so confusing!’ I said.

‘How did you get the job?’ she asked.

‘That was Pops’ idea. I left my university course because it was so boring and Pops suggested I try a job in wine PR. Well, I didn’t need asking twice. I love wine, you see. When I was younger I would raid his cellar with my friends.’

I told Clemency about the the time when I was 16 and Rupert and I got so drunk on Sassicaia I vommed on his red trousers. He told me the stain never came off.

Not that it matters. Rupert has quite the collection of red trousers. Funnily enough he works in wine too!  

I can’t remember the name of the company, but he sells super-expensive bottles.

‘He would if he’s called Rupert,’ said Clemency. ‘Or Gareth.’

‘Anyway I really want Pops to be proud of me,’ I said. ‘I know quite a few wine writers already and I have some great ideas about making wine more popular.  I mean, don’t you think it’s bizarre how people are drinking tons of Pinot Grigio and so little Burgundy? Burgundy is so much better!

‘Not that I am an expert but I know what I like. Last time we stayed with friends in Bordeaux -‘

‘It’s time we went back,’ Clemency said.

I looked at my watch. We’d only been at the restaurant for half an hour. No wonder Clemency is a bit on the plump side. I’ll have to try and explain to her it is really important to take your time over meals if you want to keep your figure. 

So that was more or less my first day. I think it went great.  I’ve already got a few ideas to make Gallo one of the biggest wine brands in the world.

Or is it Gaja?

Prune Smyth-Wellington – Fake Booze PR Correspondent