They Couldn’t Have Meant It—A Lesson in Wine Misspeak
One thing you learn after watching an election campaign being carried out is that in this country the media will jump on any inadvertant "misspeak". It doesn't matter what the intent was, if a candidate misspeaks it will be used against them. And it's not just in the context of electioneering that the media jumps on such a thing. A person of any standing can be castigated by the media and others for the inadvertent words.
I was reminded of this when I read a story on Wine-Searcher.com yesterday in which a spokesperson for a winery clearly misspoke. Upon reading their unfortunate words I was sure they would get scalded by the media as well as by casual observers. And it's too bad because they could not possibly mean what they said.
The Wine-Searcher.com story explained the famed Napa Valley Winery Screaming Eagle had sold 600 bottles of a Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc to their long-standing customers for $250 per bottle "on the condition that the bottles would not be offered on the secondary market (e.g. via a broker or auction house)."
However, it was quickly discovered that some of these fortunate customers actually turned around and sold the wine for a very good profit. The Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc had shown up on the open market for upwards of $2,150 per bottle.
The Screaming Eagle representative had the following comment:
"The original purpose was for the direct-to-consumer channel and a few select restaurants," said Patrick Chapman from Screaming Eagle. "It was for their personal use only. And, of course, people said it was for their personal use only"
The spokesperson then went on to say something he could not possibly have meant to say:
"…but the reality [is] that it wasn’t. People are turning it over for profit, for their own selfish greed.”
I"m pretty sure the Screaming Eagle representative meant to say that some of their their customers "didn't tell the truth". Given the $250 price that Screaming Eagle charged for their Sauvignon Blanc, it would take a great deal of disconnect from reality and an unorthodox understanding of the idea of value to label those who resold the wine "greedy". It's simply too much to believe that the Screaming Eagle representative actually meant to call these re-sellers "greedy". Still, he'll likely be skewered for the mistake.
However, I must admit that it is rather odd that the folks at Screaming Eagle would actually ask customers to treat their property in a particular way. It's odd that they would ask customers not to do anything with the wine but drink it, then express surprised and a little upset when the purchaser did otherwise with their duly paid for property.
But never mind that.
The thing is this, when you make this kind of mistake, when you misspeak in this way, the thing to do is correct your mistake and move on. And I suspect this is what will happen at some point.
There is just too much irony to bear when a winery charging $250 for a bottle for a Sauvignon Blanc says those who choose to buy and re-sell the wine for a much higher price, rather than drink it, acted in the service of "selfish greed".
It simply can't be what they meant to say.