Natural Wine, Golfer Wines and other Gimmicks

The wine industry is not overly prone to using gimmicks to sell stuff. Yet, it does conjure its share. The most infamous gimmick was the "critter wines", a trend in gimmickry that looks, thankfully, to be done with. Still, there are some old and new gimmicks in the wine industry that really should be done away with:

1. Natural Wine
I fear this one is with us for a long time to come, yet a gimmick it is with no real meaning and, worse, an ideology underscoring it that demands all other wines be denigrated in order for this niche to gain real, honest credibility. We are talking about a marketing term here and very little else. Everything claimed to be spectacular and miraculous and lovely about "natural" wine is very old hat, techniques mastered by many a winemaker over the past 20 years on every continent. Yet, gimmick it is.

2. More Golfer Wines
Yes. I understand that the demographic that tends to indulge in golf also indulges in wine. But do we really need more golfer wines. These are, in almost every case, wines produced by folks who understand winemaking so that the name of a person can be placed on the label that knows little or nothing about winemaking.

3. "This wine will age, but is drinking wonderfully now"
I swore off using this atrocious claim on client's back labels and data sheets some time ago after I found I couldn't look myself in the face and felt the need for a shower after writing it. The use of the phrase, all too common, is a gimmick meant to try to appeal to everybody by saying nothing.

4. Another App That Matches Foods with Wines
I lost count of how many such apps for mobile platform now exists. I honestly never understood this fear people seem to have of drinking the "wrong" wine with a certain dish. Yet, this fear is played upon by nearly every app out there trying to help the consumer with gimmickry. Yet, the apps themselves just give steam and legitimacy to the fear.

5. "The Next Napa"
I read just the other day the claim that a certain wine growing region is "the next Napa". I've heard about the next "Bordeaux" and the next "Burgundy" too. Do we really need another Napa, Bordeaux or Burgundy. The gimmick of "the next whatever" is used by marketers who are too lazy to offer some intrinsic value to what is surely a unique region.

5 Responses

  1. Roger Beery - April 26, 2012

    Here…Here!!!! Insightful as always

  2. The Sediment Blog - April 26, 2012

    Oh, surely the number one gimmick is “two bottles for the price of one”?
    Which it never is. It’s only ever “two bottles each labelled at twice their worth”…
    PS: Roger, old chap, that’s “hear, hear”.

  3. Christian Lane - April 26, 2012

    Indeed. Especially #4. Power to the people based on their own trial-n-error. Say, if a wine’s not in an app, is it illegitimate? Wait a minute, let me look the answer up, for I cannot derive my own! 🙂

  4. Marcia M - April 26, 2012

    And yet…my mother comes in the house, having just shopped at Trader Joe’s for a boatload of supplies because the nearest one to her house is 1.5 hours away. She says to my stepdad, “Look, I bought these red wines for you because I thought the labels were cute!” (Sigh.) I seriously doubt cute critters and cute labels are going away any time soon.
    #3 I’m with you on that. I think I’ve heard it a zillion times and it means absolutely zip.

  5. AC - April 27, 2012

    don’t forget wines by movie stars (dead and alive) and overpriced rock star wines

Leave a Reply