Some items worth reading this week in the vinosphere:
- Marketing has run amok again: Mary Orlin, the “Wine Fashionista” for Huffington Post, rails against a reality TV star’s plan to market “Skinnygirl” wines. It’s enough to make one pray for a wine shortage.
- So much for those marketing folks trying to simplify wine with cute names like [yellow tail] and Skinnygirl, or wine writers trying to take away the intimidation factor by making wine sound easy. (“If you like it, it must be good.”) Turns out consumers are willing to pay more for a wine with a tongue-twisting name, according to Decanter.com. (That crashing sound you just heard was every German winemaker dropping a Riedel stem in astonishment.) The Decanter article also has this non-sensical statement: “Participants also rated wine more highly in a blind tasting, and were prepared to pay more money for the same wine, if it had a name that was difficult to say in English.” How can they rate it higher in a “blind” tasting if they don’t know what wine it is? Anyway, the preference for “disfluent” wines is more pronounced among “high-knowledge” wine tasters, said the study’s author, Brock University professor Antonia Mantonakis. (Are women sexier if their names are harder to pronounce?)
- Reuters reports (via Huffington Post) that some pawnshops have begun accepting wine as collateral to help “wealthy people” over their cash crunch. How will those wealthy folks guarantee provenance when they eventually put the vino up for auction? And why not sell it for auction now if they need cash? (Hat tip: Holly Harrington.)
- The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois, writes about a local restaurateur who offers local wines, but finds them hard to sell. Once his diners get a taste of Illinois vino, they like it, says Augie Mrozowski of Augie’s Front Burner and American Harvest Eatery. Augie – I don’t think I could spell his surname correctly twice – does the locavore/locapour walk and recognizes that “American Harvest” includes wine grapes. (His motto at American Harvest Eatery is “True to the Season, True to the Region.”) He finds sales tick upwards when he puts the local juice on his tasting menu. The wines don’t sell themselves, but take a little extra work on his part. This is a story that has been told in other untraditional wine regions, and needs to be told more often. (Hat tip: Jeff Siegel.)