This week’s wine news: Beware of sponsored content, plus big Prosecco numbers and the rules of Italian wine
• Not on my site: Want to make money with a wine blog? Use sponsored content. As the blog’s traffic has picked up this year, so have requests to run product copy as a blog post. I turn them down, and not just because of the ethical concerns. Sponsored content confuses readers, and they “sometimes struggle to identify it, have mixed emotions about its being in the same place as regular editorial content, and often feel like publishers must be held to higher standards.” The quote, from a post on Digiday.com, speaks to the issues exactly: Only 41 percent of U.S. readers say they can easily recognize sponsored content, which means a majority of people reading post-modern journalism have trouble telling the difference. So for moral better and financial worse, no sponsored content posing as a blog post here.
• Italian bubbles: Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, sells half as much wine as Champagne does in Europe, which is worth pondering given Champagne’s reputation and cachet. Shouldn’t the latter’s margin be bigger? But more interesting: Prosecco sold 25 percent more liters on the continent than Champagne did for the 12 months ending in September. Plus, Prosecco sales increased 24 percent in value and 23 in volume, while Champagne was mostly flat by both measures. The reasons are obvious: price, price, and price, since Prosecco can cost as little as one-third as much as Champagne.
• Thou shalt pay attention: The Italian Wine Guy celebrates the holidays with a look at the 10 commandments that should apply to Italian wine (complete with pictures of Charlton Heston, for those of us of a certain age). It’s a funny post, but more importantly reminds us of the reasons why great Italian wine is so great. Which is, of course, that it is Italian, and not anything else, My favorite, from the second commandment: “No Chardonnay pretending to be French, or worse, from the Russian River Valley. If it must be white, it must be true and pure as milk and honey.”