Wine Needs George Clooney

I was watching a little television this weekend. For some reason, I kept coming across Clooney in a variety of different roles and it occurred to me that Wine needs George Clooney…or at least a Clooneyesque replacement.

Guys like George Clooney. Well, they like what George Clooney portrays.

First, he always gets the girl. He is, in fact, the only guy on my wife’s laminated card and I suspect he’s on just about every over 35 married woman’s laminated card.

Second, he’s a very good dude. That is, he’s the kind of guy that other guys would like to hang with and watch a boxing match, play some golf, lie about woman with or watch some football with.

Third, Clooney looks great without looking foppish or too put together…the kind of appearance most men want desperately to be able to pull off.

BUT…you never see him or his characters drinking wine and enjoying it, let alone talking about. We in the wine industry need George Clooney to portray a girl-getting, good looking dude in a blockbuster wherein he also makes wine drinking and appreciating wine look like the coolest thing since single malt scotch.

In this never-to-be-made blockbuster, while getting the girl, hanging out with his dudes, wearing really finely cut sports jackets, Khakis and mock turtles, while bantering very wittily and while embarking on a one-man crusade to take down some foppish, powerful jerk that kicked his dog, Clooney also needs to display an independent passion for wine that is in no way dependent on ratings and numbers, but born of palate confidence a knowledge of wine’s history, lots of experience drinking and collecting the stuff, while being not quite—but almost—obsessed with the drink.

While taking on the Dog-Kicker, Clooney (the brilliant guy who dropped out of grad school to work for the CIA to save the world but got disillusioned and started his own private detective agency and is very happy not using his brilliance but rather catching cheating wives and tracking down insurance cheats) needs to hang with buddies like Dennis Leary (the rich banker buddy), Ray Liotta (The adulterous, former high school football star buddy) and Viggo Mortensen (best friend and rising star in some clandestine government intelligence agency). They get together often and there’s always wine involved. For example, while they are fishing on Viggo’s boat and before our hero explains he’s about to commit an illegal deed to finally take revenge on the Dog Kicker, Clooney pulls out some bottle and says something like, "Boys, behold the pride of the Rhone—it’s great juice that will caress your tongue more fully than Maggie Feinstein used to back at Garrison High—and the great thing is, no one will call you desperate for putting your tongue down deep into this beauty!" And they proceed to drink the wine, talk a little about it without ever using wine-geek words while reminiscing about Maggie, her tongue and Ray Liotta’s unpleasant memory of tripping on the five yard line, not making into the end zone to win the state championship and how his life went down hill ever since.

Wine needs George Clooney desperately.

There is nothing like pop culture to revitalize ideas, provoke curiosity among the masses, or take a niche product and turn it into a phenomenon. If you think wine is more than a niche product, then show me the placard adorning the side of a football stadium that advertising Merlot.

I don’t think the upcoming movies about the Judgment of Paris is going to do for wine or Napa Valley what Sideways did for Pinot Noir. I could be wrong. But I don’t think so.

The key to bringing wine from niche to mainstream is turning men from beer to wine. That means reinventing the image of wine from a rich man’s indulgence to something ruggedly cool. I’m not talking "beer rugged" where the drink simply becomes an easy to drink alcohol-delivery vehicle conveniently bottled in easy-to-swig, hand-fitting vessels. Rather, wine needs to be transformed into a different kind of idea; something that the generally self-conscious American male can pick up and drink and not be accused of going soft.

Wine Needs George Clooney.

George, if you read Fermentation e-mail me…we’ll work on the script together. Plus, I think I can get you some really great wine out of the effort!

21 Responses

  1. Richard Shaffer - June 9, 2008

    Tom: We definitely need someone who can “bring SEXY back” to the wine space (or is it to bring SEXY into the wine space for the very first time?). MANLY sexy, that is – jeans, bare feet, about a day away from the last shave, where wine-drinking is something hip guys do and MAYBE invite the ladies into, but only if they are really cool and can hang. We need guys who are a mix of Outdoors-iness + Good with the Ladies + Brainy in a Very Cool Way + Comfortable in My Own Skin (most people just aren’t).
    This needs to get figured out by marketers for sure.

  2. Sarah - June 9, 2008

    Regarding wine and some alcohols, it seems to me that we have James Bond, don’t we ?
    He’s smart, good-looking, cool with the ladies, really sexy. Ok, he’s always looking perfect (hair, clothes… even after a big explosion). But he has some influence. Which is why James Bond films have the biggest advertisement earnings (cars, jewels, watches, and alcohols of course).
    And he enjoys wine : great Champagnes, never mixes red wine with fish (From Russia with Love), Lillet martini, grands crus…
    But, by the way, I agree with you : a George Clooney is definitely what wine needs. He represents the kind of image we wine-lovers would like other to associate with wine.
    PS : great scenario. Clooney + Mortensen : your female audience will love it !!

  3. David Cole - June 9, 2008

    I’m liking it already!! LOL! Clooney as the white collar worker that quits his job, buys 10-20 acres, grows grapes and starts a winery. While doing so falls in love with a local girl (make her hot!) and they go through the ups and downs, but like a great movie come out on top. Some big name company tries to buy them out, but the passion for the juice keeps them from selling!
    Tom, I want co-writier titles on this stuff…….:)
    Good read for a monday am, thanks!

  4. Jan - June 9, 2008

    George and Brad are seen drinking wine and watching Happy Days in a scene from Oceans 12.
    George has his wine glass in one hand and the bottle in the other. They are both enjoying the wine and it appears they are not on their first bottle.

  5. Benjamin Saltzman - June 9, 2008

    I might have someone for you.
    Last summer I went with my girlfriend and her family to Italy and we spent some time in Lake Como (where, by the way, George owns a home).
    The last night we were there, we ate at the ristorante all’Hotel Terminus di Como. The wine service was excellent and, as it turns out, was performed by the director himself.
    As we were leaving, Peter (my girlfriend’s father) put his arm around the director and said, “I have to ask . . . are you George Clooney’s brother?” He laughed to himself and responded, “No, I’m Maurizio.” Then, he gestured to us and took us to his office where he explained that, because of his striking resemblance to George Clooney, he has become quite famous. He showed us several magazines that have written articles about him and also directs us to his website:
    Anyways, Maurizio might be your man.

  6. Arthur - June 9, 2008

    A man’s man like techy details (baseball stats, car trivia, engine specifications etc).
    I would propose that The Cloone Wine Prototype and cronies *SHOULD* speak in “Wine Geek” terms – about production, terroir, etc.
    Manly, guy’s guys would probably eschew the poetic, ephemeral descriptions (except in Viagra commercials) and go for he technical stuff.

  7. lagramiere - June 9, 2008

    You are too funny!

  8. Diane Letulle - June 9, 2008

    Hilarious–I’d love to watch this movie you’ve concocted! I don’t know if wine needs George Clooney, but I’m a fan of both. Hanging out in Lake Como, I’m sure he’s drinking gallons of the stuff.

  9. Philip James - June 9, 2008

    The Thomas Crown Affair, the new version with Pierce Brosnan.
    Cool, rich, manly financier who steals from the Met Museum in New York, crashes a $100k Trimaran racing yacht for fun, then flies his girlfriend to his private island in the Caribbean where they drink some Bordeaux.
    What more do you need?

  10. Tom Wark - June 9, 2008

    “Cool, rich, manly financier who steals from the Met Museum in New York, crashes a $100k Trimaran racing yacht for fun, then flies his girlfriend to his private island in the Caribbean where they drink some Bordeaux.
    What more do you need?”
    I think what I need is a character that I might be able to imagine myself being. I can’t imagine being Thomas Crown or a ultra rich kinda guy. But Guys do fancy themselves dudes who like to hang with their friends and shoot the shit…and maybe even take on greater powers…in their wildest dreams.

  11. Paul Giamatti - June 9, 2008

    What am I? Chopped liver?

  12. Morton Leslie - June 9, 2008

    Sorry Paul, he was talking about revitalizing ideas and provoking curiosity among the masses. When you downed that dump bucket and then verbally dumped on Merlot, you kind of ruined your chances of being our guy.

  13. Lisa Freeman - June 9, 2008

    Oh, Tom, so close.
    But in light of the fact that Viggo is not just at the top of my laminate his name is carved in marble and tattooed on my body, I must suggest a slight casting switch between him and Clooney. Just sayin’.
    Afterall, the guy made naked fighting look cool.
    Just sayin’

  14. Tom Wark - June 9, 2008

    No question about it. Viggo really owns the naked fighting genre!!

  15. Susan - June 9, 2008

    George is holding a glass of white wine in a spread for OMEGA. He does make that wine look absolutely de-lish!

  16. Arthur Przebinda - June 9, 2008

    An with less full frontal than in “Walk Hard/Dewey Cox”

  17. Arthur Przebinda - June 9, 2008

    Pierce Brosnan does Loreal ads for men’s facial creams in Europe.
    Not manly enough for the role.

  18. Golly - June 10, 2008

    I’d go see that film. Could I suggest that Clooney spills some red on his shirt and has to take it off once or twice in the movie?

  19. Jim - June 10, 2008

    George Clooney just visited Napa for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was a guest at several prominent wineries.

  20. Amanda Lynn - June 11, 2008

    Who needs Clooney, when you’ve got Pellechia?

  21. Marina - June 11, 2008

    I don’t drink wine much. Thank you. Just came here to see George Clooney’s picture.
    Just passing through LOL

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