On mistaking marketing ploys for wine

blue-wineThere are wine-related stories that should never find their way to serious wine media. Some of these are obvious. Take for example the recently launched “Pinot Meow” and MosCATo” wines for cats (cringeworthy right from the start) which were luckily not taken up by too many publications. Other bits of news are not as clear-cut like this week’s Blue Wine launched in several countries and reported on in The Drinks Business or Decanter among other media.

It amounts to an artificially hyped up marketing concept. I actually came across GïK, the startup behind this “innovation” a couple of months ago when they had just launched their initiative in Spain. I quickly dismissed it as a fluke, a vapid, empty story because the first thing I noticed is that they were not inspired by anything remotely linked to wine, but by a marketing text book that has become a staple of business school professors specializing in woozy conceptual classes like Innovation Management.

Everything that you can read about the wine itself should send a winelover running to the hills, yet professional publications who have earned their reputation and subscribers on offering more than just copy-pasted press releases and marketing blurbs simply bend over and forget whatever they supposedly value in wine.

Origin? Non-existent. The wine is sourced from undisclosed producers spread over undisclosed regions in both Spain and France (there is a contradiction on the official website as they only claim Spanish vineyards). Vineyards are supposedly chosen because of the personal click with those who own them. I can’t imagine a quality winegrower who would offer up his or her crop only to have it completely obliterated with tech, so this speaks volumes on what to expect.

Taste and a link to terroir? Non-existent with a plus! GïK is beaming with the use of tech to improve the wine. The pigmentation process I would not mind as such, supposing that coloring would not actually alter the taste. Then however, they pride themselves on being healthier than regular wine as they use artificial sweeteners to add that sweet punch that all makes it worthwhile! The lack of knowledge of and interest in the vinification process is even more stupefying in their claim that they do not add sugars, as they would ferment to alcohol in the bottle. Ok, you get a bit of the fermentation process, congrats on looking it up on Wikipedia, but techniques like stabilization, stopping fermentation or preventing oxidation clearly do not ring a bell? No worries though, as even the world’s strongest vinegar can be converted into something drinkable with the right tech and amount of artificial sweetener, I suppose.

Ok, I sound like a complete bitch but for the life of me I cannot get how anyone with a remote interest in wine would be intrigued by this. It is an embarrassment that the story has been written up in serious publications without even giving it a second thought from what an actual winelover, still the core audience of said publications, would think of it. As a market concept, it is simply brilliant. Transforming wine that would most likely end up being sold for 5 euro a bag-in-box into something that can apparently command 11 euro is the dream of many a marketeer. I am honestly impressed with the swiftness and professionalism shown during their seemingly successful expansion. As a wine though? Utterly ridiculous.

4 thoughts on “On mistaking marketing ploys for wine

  1. If producers want wine to become a mass-market drink, then there is no reason why wine should not be marketed to that audience with the same kind of attention-grabbing flavouring, packaging and manipulation as, say, ice cream.

    If you want wine to remain an elitist drink for a knowledgeable few, fair enough. But those staging Shakespeare do not bemoan the marketing of musicals; they simply leave them to it, and concentrate on their own audience. So leave those who want to reach the mass market to their own tactics, and you pursue yours.

    1. It actually has nothing to do with elitism, far from it. I wrote this because I simply believe that a publication specialized in wine should be writing about wine. My annoyance and the inspiration for this post actually stem from the blatant copy pasting of a press release without even taking a second to add an objective note. People can drink gallons of it for all I care, and I sincerely hope that their marketing campaign pays off, but to me, it’s just not wine.

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