Category Archives: Wine news

One more example why TV wine ads are so awful


Nielsen announced its best TV ads for alcohol products from the first part of 2015, and the wine winner points out yet again just how sad TV wine advertising is and how little it has changed from the Orson Welles and Riunite days of my youth.

The winning ad, chosen from those that aired in the first two quarters last year, was a 15-second spot for Woodbridge, the $8 grocery store wine from Constellation’s Robert Mondavi label. It’s mostly shots of women of a certain age — and a dog — holding wine glasses by the bowl and laughing. It has the lowest “brand memorability index” of the five winning ads (two beers, a spirits, and a cider) and the best the analysis could say was that the ad “established an ownable creative concept over time that creates an emotional connection with viewers.” 

If this is the winner, how bad were the losers? You can see the Woodbridge spot below; perhaps an ad type who is reading this could explain if an “ownable creative concept” is a good thing.

I’ve never been able to figure out why TV wine ads are so awful. Maybe it’s for the same reason that TV wine shows are usually boring — there just isn’t much visually interesting about drinking wine.

More about TV wine ads:
Riunite on ice — so nice
Sex sells — even for wine in the 1970s
TV wine commercials and their legacy

Winebits 420: Drinking is evil edition


drinking is evilThe neo-Prohibitionists were in the news again last week, reminding us that drinking is evil and we’d better quit — or else.

Stop drinking and do it now: The British government has decided that “there is no ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption and drinking just a small amount may in fact increase the risk of some cancers.” As part of this, the government is lowering the amount of alcohol that one should drink to about six glasses of wine a week, and telling drinkers to abstain two days a week to allow their livers to recover. And all those studies that point to a red wine health benefit? Nope — there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption” for the middle aged.

Wine producers are liars: I wasn’t going to write about this, since the study has several problems — as one of its authors admits — but a reader’s email changed my mind. The study intimates that U.S. wineries lie about the amount of alcohol in their products to get us drunk. And when that happens, who knows what evil lurks just around the corner courtesy of Demon Rum? This story is also another reason not to pay too much attention to wine coverage in the Washington Post that isn’t written by my pal Dave McIntyre.

Bring on the labels: One reaction to the neo-Prohibitionists has been Big Wine’s enthusiasm for nutrition labels, which is about the only good thing associated with the neos. The latest convert is the world’s biggest beer company, which pledged to include full nutritional and calorie information on 80 percent of its United Kingdom beer packaging by the end of 2017. “Consumers are getting savvier about their daily calorie consumption and are actively looking at nutritional information,” said a spokeswoman. “While the EU continues to discuss the best way forward for nutritional labeling in our industry, we want to give consumers the information they need at their fingertips to make well informed choices and enjoy our products responsibly.” We’ll ignore that most of the companies who do this are doing so to get ahead of the liquor cops.

Winebits 419: Cheap wine, wine crimes, wine tourism


cheap wine• But if it tastes crappy. ..: The Tasting Table website offers advice about what to do with cheap wine that isn’t worth drinking, on the premise that “not everyone is a master sommelier.” It’s good to know that after publishing almost a decade of $10 Hall of Fames that a well-read wine site still assumes cheap wine isn’t worth drinking and that one needs to be a sommelier to choose wine successfully. Which, of course, is not true, as I have been writing about and teaching for more than 20 years. The other thing that makes me crazy about pieces like this? One of the suggestions is to cook with the wine. But if it’s not good enough to drink, why is it good enough to cook with? The best suggestion for bad wine? Throw it out.

Shouldn’t she have cooked with it? USA Today reports that a Florida woman was arrested in Walmart after driving a motorized shopping cart through the store, eating sushi and drinking wine. The woman, says the story, was allegedly on drugs when she was arrested with a half empty bottle of wine in her cart. No word on what kind of wine it was or if it was chosen by a master sommelier, but my guess is that the woman enjoyed the wine, as bad as it may have been. Whether she enjoyed the part after the wine is a different story.

Bring on the tourists: Napa Valley attracted 3.3 million tourists in 2014, up 12 percent from 2012 and putting the region’s current controversy over winery construction into perspective. Consider that just 140,000 people live in Napa County, and you can see why so many are so upset about so many tourists. On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue with the money the tourists spend, which may be more than one-half billion dollars.

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