One Simple Step to Removing Wine’s Intimidation Factor
At least this is the way it was put by Larry Schaffer, owner of Tercero Winery, commenting in this post about “craft wine”. In fact, this is the same question that I’ve heard asked ever since I got in the wine business nearly 25 years ago. In fact, that wine is intimidating has been among the most important concerns to the wine industry and various efforts have been made to mitigate this feeling among consumers.
I have a fool-proof plan to remove the intimidation fact surrounding wine:
Don’t Price Any Wine Above $10.
Larry’s comment above concerning wine being intimidating is offered in comparison to beer, which is not seen as intimidating. One of the fundamental differences between beer and wine is the simple fact that the vast majority of beers are very inexpensive when compared to the vast majority of wines. This is probably the most important point when it comes to figuring out why wine intimidates more than beer…or nearly any other beverage.
Even if the consumer feels inadequate in their beer knowledge, the cost of getting up to speed, or at least of trying the beers that all your hip friends are talking about, is a pretty inexpensive gambit. There’s also the added benefit of never feeling like an idiot because you paid an arm and a leg for a beer that you don’t understand, that you didn’t like and that your friends didn’t like.
But consider wine. The financial consequences of getting up to speed about so many of the wines geeks and know-it-alls talk about are pretty steep. What’s with this “peeno” every one is talking about? I could try that one for $50 a bottle. Or that one for $60 a bottle. Or that French one from $200 a bottle.
It’s the price of wine that makes it appear oh so precious (and not a little ridiculous) as a beverage and its drinkers equally highfalutin to those who can’t afford the price of the good stuff…and honestly, that’s the vast majority of people. On the other hand, nearly everyone can afford to try craft beer. Have you ever notice that those wineries who sell wine at $50 or more per bottle simply aren’t concerned with making wine less intimidating? Have you noticed that most of the people talking about making wine less intimidating are selling it for under $20 per bottle?
The primary solution I’ve heard given over the past 25 years for how to make wine more accessible and less intimidating is to stop talking about it using convoluted language. Stop making it mysterious by talking about “tearwhar” and such things. And there have been various attempts to do just this. Meanwhile, wine is still seen by many as intimidating. But it’s really all so simple. Want to remove the intimidation factor? Just be more like beer: Ordain that no wine shall cost more than $10.00.