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Tag Archives: wine advertising

Winebits 272: Randall Grahm, alcohol ads, wine and health

Is the world upside down? The Wine Spectator’s James Laube writes a mostly favorable profile of Bonny Doon’s irrepressible Randall Grahm. Why is this so odd? For one thing, Grahm has never had any use for the Winestream Media, scores, the kinds of wines it likes, and how the system works. For another, he once wrote of Laube: “I’d rather have a frontal lobotomy than a Laube in front of me.” Laube mostly let bygones be bygones: “The latest wines are striking for their structure and individuality. …” Though, in true Winestream Media fashion, only one of the four wines reviewed in the piece scored higher than a 90. Which, given my experience with Grahm’s wines, once again emphasizes how useless scores are.

Ban ‘em all! A British doctors’ group wants to phase out all alcohol advertising as part of its latest campaign to tackle the country’s drinking problem. The Alcohol Health Alliance says children need to be protected from booze ads; hence its plan to restrict them to newspapers and magazines with an adult readership. Eventually, all ads and sponsorships for alcohol products would be banned. This is an amazing proposal from the country that gave the world civil liberties in the Magna Carta, and raises all sorts of constitutional questions. I wonder: What would Horace Rumpole, whose love of cheap wine was surpassed only by his respect for Magna Carta, ”our ancient rights of freedom,’“ say to the doctors?

One more silly claim: The Wine Curmudgeon would be happier if health claims for wine would be banned, which I’ve done here on the blog. The only reason I’m mentioning this one is that it demonstrates why all of this is so foolish. Red wine, in moderation, can help old farts like the WC make women happy. Does this mean my natural charm isn’t enough?

Winebits 226: New York wine, Alabama wine, wine prices

New York wine: How about the Finger Lakes as the next great wine region? No less than the Atlantic says so, and who am I to argue with a big deal East Coast magazine — and especially when our fourth annual DrinkLocalWine conference is set for this this week? Reports writer Caroline Helper: "At the end of the day, the Finger Lakes is producing some truly inspired wine, and perhaps more remarkably, the winemakers there are doing it in a way that is rather inspiring."

Alabama wineries urge boycott: Not as much good news in Alabama, where a state legislative committee killed a bill that would have allowed the state's 14 wineries to distribute their wine without a distributor. The bill was apparently tabled at the behest of the state's beer distributors, who were terrified that any change in the three-tier system would cost them money. Like they don't already make enough. The wineries' response? A boycott of the state's national beer brands, including Budweiser, Miller and Coors, to protest the decision. They have the Wine Curmudgeon's support.

Pricier California wine? Silicon Valley Bank, which is supposed to know about these things, predicts that U.S. consumers will have to pay more for domestic wine, settle for lower quality, or buy cheaper imports. Its annual report on the wine business says there is a serious shortage of California grapes, which will last for a while and kick prices higher.

How wine commercials on TV have changed — or not

Yellow Tail, the Australian wine brand that consumers love and that wine critics love to hate, launched a new ad campaign this fall. The creator of the TV commercials for the campaign, featuring hip and with-it young people, says the ads reinforce the idea that Yellow Tail is for “people who are unpretentious and fun-loving.”

What struck the Wine Curmudgeon about the Yellow Tail ad is not its efficacy, but how wine advertising has stuck to the same theme for decades and decades and decades — that the best way to convince Americans to drink wine is to show hip and with-it young people drinking wine.

Don’t believe me? Then check out this Mateus Rose commercial from 1971 (courtesy of robatsea at YouTube). Save for the white pants and the 20th century production values, there isn’t much difference in approach. Whether that’s good or bad is for you to decide.

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