“Pro-Choice Pinot Noir”?

Yes, I know. I said the last post would be the last post on the election and how it relates to wine. But I can’t help myself. This has too much stuffing to let pass.

Mark over at Uncorked found an interesting discussion at Woot.Wine. Woot.Wine is similar to RadCru.com. Both offer one wine per day and sell it until it’s gone at a somewhat discounted price. Well, apparently a day before the election Woot offered bottles of wine for sale under the Sierra Club label. As Mark relates, all hell broke lose among those who frequent the site and the comments section of the Sierra Club offer turned into a political battle ground.

As Mark notes, "And the flame war was on. Ahh, politics and wine — an incendiary mix, at least during Election Week. And here you and I thought wine was a uniter, not a divider."

The interesting question here is to what extent does a person’s politics dictate their purchasing habits and is wine for any reason immune to being affected by political winds and leanings?

I don’t think anyone will doubt that one’s political leanings and inclinations often guide their purchasing habits. Boycotts are often a vehicle for allow folks to express their political feelings. But that’s more of a protest non-purchase. The more interesting idea is how political leanings lead people to purchase specific products, categories of products or certain brands.

I can almost guarantee that there is a small contingent of folks out there that will not buy Gallo wines because they have been portrayed as unfriendly to unions. But it’s a lot of work to undertake this kind of negative consumption habit. You’d have to be aware of all the brands that Gallo owns. Not many people are.

I also know folks that won’t buy wine from Industrial sized wine corporations because they feel these mega corporations are bad for the both the artisan nature of the wine industry as well as being responsible for the "homogenization" of wine styles. This strikes me as an aesthetic statement as much as a political statement. And again it’s more of a boycott than a positive political statement through consumerism.

The one category of wine i can think of in which folks are in part making a political statement by purchasing a wine, rather than choosing not to, is Organic Wine.

There is no question that a certain political mindset leads some folks to seek out wines that are supposed to do less damage to the environment than conventionally farmed wines. The number of organic wines is growing and their sales are doing well.

Beyond this, I’m at a loss to find any other category of wine that is actually purchased, at least in part, based upon the political leanings of the purchaser. This in turn leads me to believe that what we have here is a consumer niche that has not been taken advantage of. This sounds cynical and an opportunistic perspective on the question. It’s certainly both. Still, what about:

"Union Worker White"
"Second Amendment Syrah"
"Pro-Choice Pinot Noir"
"Right Wing Red"
"Progressive Pinot Gris"
"Border Fence Barbera"

Maybe this needs a more subtle touch to work!


6 Responses

  1. Benito - November 11, 2006

    A couple of examples:
    In theory, purchasing South African wines made by black winemakers (like Indaba) could be seen as a political statement. The wine industry under apartheid was not pleasant and it’s only been recently that black South Africans have begun studying wine making at Universities like Stellenbosch and managing their own vineyards. I haven’t been able to find Indaba around here, but I want to buy some to support profitable African agriculture.
    I know I went out of my way to drink more French wine during the whole “Freedom Fries” crap a few years ago.
    Ducks Unlimited, a wildlife conservation organization mostly made up of duck hunters, has a couple of co-branded wines that you see around here from time to time. Part of the proceeds go to support DU. Whether or not the wines are a good match for waterfowl, I can’t tell you.

  2. wineguy - November 11, 2006

    Some years ago a Dr. J. Carey, a Santa Barbara winemaker and (unsuccessful) Democratic candidate for Congress released “Recession Red”. The next year, Republican politician and winemaker Brooks Firestone released “Prosperity White” and “Prosperity Red”. J. Carey is out of business; Firestone still makes the “Prosperity” wines. I guess you can make of that what you will…

  3. tom - November 11, 2006

    I recall the Recession Red and Prosperity Red. They always struck me as tongue in cheek. But I can see the political connection.

  4. Micha - November 12, 2006

    Wouldn’t “Union Worker Red”, and “Right Wing White” be more fitting? just a thought.

  5. wineboy! - November 14, 2006

    How abut Libertarian lemberger?

  6. el jefe - November 15, 2006

    Wait, I thought the Red states were Republican now!
    No wonder I am so *%#&@! confused…

Leave a Reply