If there’s one thing most wine professionals – the producers, distributors, marketers and critics – seem to believe in, its the value in talking about the winemaker. Consumers, it is assumed are bound to be interested in John or Jean, the person who performed the magic of turning grapes into a pleasant alcoholic beverage.
And of course it’s true that some consumers – the enthusiasts – do like to know about the face behind the bottle, especially if he or she has an interesting story to tell. But how big is that audience? And how interested are those same wine professionals in the the men and women responsible for the stuff they use on a daily basis? Yesterday, I asked 140 members of the South African wine industry if they could tell me who Jonathan Ive is. Two hands were raised. I’ve now asked the same question of over a thousand professionals across the globe and fewer than than 5% have any idea who he might be. Do you know?
According to Wikipedia, Sir Jonathan Paul “Jony” Ive, KBE RDI (born 27 February 1967) is Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc… designer of many of Apple’s products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iOS 7.
Just read that again. He’s the man who gave us the first your-music-collection-in-your-pocket device, the iPod; the first all-in-one computer-and-screen, the iMac; the first phone-that-takes-pictures-and-plays-music-and-movies, the iPhone; and the first computer-without-a-keyboard, the iPad. Just look around you at all of the Apple products – and copies of Apple products – and consider just how significantly these things and their design has changed all of our lives.
Most people have now heard of Steve Jobs, but Jobs was not the designer; he was the company boss, the strategy and money-focused guy whose vinous counterpart many wine writers really would prefer not to talk to.
If you are one of the over 95% who hadn’t heard of Mr Ive, you might be interested to learn that (according to Wikipedia whom I think we can trust in this instance)... Steve Jobs considered Ive to be his “spiritual partner at Apple,” while Fortune magazine stated in 2010 that Ive’s designs have “set the course not just for Apple but for design more broadly.”
In 2004, he was named the “Most Influential Person on British Culture” by the BBC.
in 2009, Fast Company put him at No. 1 on their list of “100 Most Creative People in Business; the Daily Telegraph named him the second “Most Influential Briton in Technology, Forbes magazine listed him as second amongst the “Most Powerful People in Technology; and The Guardian named him “Inventor of the Decade”.
In 2010, Bloomberg BusinessWeek listed Ive among the “World’s Most Influential Designers”, CNN Money named him “Smartest Designer” in their “Smartest People in Tech” story. Ive was listed at No. 18 on “The Vanity Fair 100” list, and Eureka of The Times group placed him No. 5 on their list of “Britain’s Most Important Scientists”; Fortune named Ive the “world’s smartest designer” for his work on Apple products.
In 2011, the Daily Mail profiled Ive, hailing him as a “design genius”. He also was nominated for a British Inspiration Award.
As of early 2014, Ive is listed as an inventor on over 730 U.S. design and utility patents, as well as many more related patents around the world.
I know some pretty interesting winemakers. With all due respect to them, none deserves remotely as big a mention in the history books as Mr Ive.