Category:Videos

TV wine ads: Drink Black Tower, invade a foreign country

This 1982 Black Tower TV commercial reminds us that TV wine ads don’t improve with age

Black Tower is a German wine, best known for its black bottle. In the 1970s and 1980s, when U.S. wine drinkers wanted sweet white wine, Black Tower played off Blue Nun’s success to enjoy a bit of popularity before heading to the back shelves of the liquor store. Where it remains, for $8 a bottle, in case you’re curious.

Which brings us to this bizarre Black Tower TV commercial from 1982. The brand’s marketing types probably thought they had to distance it from Blue Nun’s image, so they made it much more manly. A deep, dark voice reminds us the wine comes “in the towering black bottle” while faux Wagner music plays in the background. Frankly, after watching this, it feels like it’s time to conquer Europe.

The catch, of course, is that Black Tower was about as manly as a baby diaper. It was a sweet, soft wine, and the commercial crams that information in even though it doesn’t quite fit the rest of the ad. Plus, there’s a blond woman eating an apple, because all wine commercials have to have blond women (though I’m not quite sure why the apple).

Like I said, bizarre.

So one more example of the sad state of TV wine ads, whether today or 36 years ago. Is it wonder I worry about the future of the wine business?

Video courtesy of Sean Mc via YouTube

More about TV wine ads:
TV wine ad update: Does this Kim Crawford commercial make sense?
Chill a Cella: Now we know why more Americans don’t drink wine
When Blue Nun ruled the wine world

Corks: The most dangerous wine closure in the world

Watch this video, and you’ll understand how dangerous corks are

The Wine Curmudgeon will make no other comment on the following, other than this: “This young man would not have nearly blown up his kitchen if all wines had screwcaps.”

The complete story is here, via BuzzFeed. Lawrence Guo of San Leandro, Calif., wanted to open a bottle of rose, but his corkscrew broke. Disaster then ensued. He tried opening the bottle with a lighter, similar to a video he had seen on YouTube (and which we have detailed here).

When that didn’t work, he used the flame on a gas stove. The results were, in Guo’s words, disastrous – “we could have died,” he said. The bottle shattered, glass flew everywhere, and Guo and his friend were lucky to avoid injury.

He offers a lengthy explanation about what went wrong, quoting thermal shock, molecular vapor expansion, and vapor pressure. But we know the real reason.

Corks.

“We tried everything we could to open it, but the cork wouldn’t budge,” Guo told Buzzfeed. “I would advise to wear some better protective gear covering vital body parts if this were to be replicated.”

None of which you need with a screwcap.

“Learn French by drinking wine” – the road to becoming a YouTube star

youtubeWho knew getting drunk on camera was the best way for your video to go viral on YouTube?

If you write for the Internet, you spend a disproportionate amount of your day worrying about visitor numbers, bounce rate, click throughs, and other assorted metrics.

What a waste of time.

That’s because content doesn’t necessarily matter – going viral on YouTube does. The authority is a British website called The Register, which tracks just such Internet shenanigans. It advises those of us who do this for a living to forget about trying to inform anyone, but to:

“Drink. Lots. Fratboy antics rack up views like no one’s business, dude. So grab yourself a bottle of cheap beer/spirits/cleaning fluid, set your webcam going, and prepare for fame. If you can manage to be sick at the end of it, so much the better.”

Its case in point in this video, “An American Drunk,” posted by gogo22. As near as I can tell, the guy in the video is listening to a French language lesson while drinking four bottles of French wine (the infamously cheap L’Epayrie Blanc, about $5 a bottle). And, as the Register advises, getting drunk.

The video is too long – more than five minutes – and too static to seem to have much of a chance of going viral. I’ve been told the best viral candidates should be short, direct, immediate and feature a cute animal or baby. But I did start writing on a typewriter with carbon paper, so what do I know about 21st century technology?

You can judge for yourself – the video is at the end of the post. Hopefully, this isn’t a feature I need to add to the blog.

“One of the most noted bloggers about wine anywhere in America”

Yes, that’s the WC on Tim McNally’s New Orleans TV show

The clip below is from my pal Tim McNally’s New Orleans’ wine and food TV show, Appetite for Life, on WLAE, channel 32. Which is PBS, and who knew an old sportswriter would ever end up on the same network as Jacques and Julia?

Tim was kind enough to interview me about trends in the wine business, including why cheap wine doesn’t get any respect, the need ingredient labels, and other wine business foolishness. As Tim noted, we did the interview via Skype; otherwise, we might have done more wine drinking than wine talking (and that is Bugs Bunny on the bookshelf in back of me).

And yes, I was very embarrassed by the introduction.

When wine education fails — badly

The Wine Curmudgeon laughed so hard at this video that I woke up one of my dogs.

Want to know how badly the wine business has educated wine drinkers? Then watch this 2:08 animated short, courtesy of downtowndonald at YouTube. The best exchange? How about: “I don’t like red wine.” “Too bad. This got 95 points.” “Then I’ll buy a case.”

And a word about Xtranormal, the software used to make this video: It was brilliant, and allowed anyone with basic computer skills to make funny little movies. I did a couple of videos here, as well as other sites I have written for over the years. But it disappeared in 2013, and I have never found anything to replace it. If anyone knows of an alternative, let me know.

And a tip o’ the Curmudgeon’s fedora to Kermit Woodall for helping me rescue this post when it vanished for about 18 hours during was I switched servers for the blog.

The dog days of summer

The Wine Curmudgeon apologizes in advance for this post.

But I couldn’t help myself. It allowed me to use a groan-worthy headline and make a Monty Python reference, the Curmudgeon’s days don’t get much better than that.

Plus, given how the Internet works, how could I not post a viral puppy video?

The dog is Ralfi, a whippet and Jack Russell mix, reports Decanter, the British wine magazine (and where apparently no one had anything better to do, either). The video is courtesy of Jenny Eberhart via YouTube.

The VinGarde Valise

The VinGarde ValiseRegular visitors here know how little use the Wine Curmudgeon has for wine accessories, and especially those that cost $199.99. Nevertheless, there is something about Barry Wax’s VinGarde Valise that makes me want to buy it. Maybe it’s that the video calls Barry the “wine accessories maven.” Regardless, imagine all the $10 wine I could take with me when I fly. Or throw down the stairs without breaking.

And yes, those are real bottles of Chateau Petrus in the video, perhaps the world’s most expensive wine. Barry assured me, though, that they weren’t his. The video, regardless, is much fun: