Tag Archives: wine trends

No, this isn’t a wine and Halloween post

The Wine Curmudgeon does not do wine and Halloween. Too many of the wines you’ll read about aren’t very good and are made specifically for this time of year, which seems kind of silly. Does Heinz make special Halloween ketchup? And those wines that do fit the holiday and are well done, like Bogle’s Phantom, get overdone to death. Pun fully intended. Finally, who cares about wine and caramel corn pairings (because someone did a post, which I refuse to link to)?

The other thing that makes me crazy? The Halloween-themed wine video, in which adults put on costumes to do Halloween and wine pairings. This year, the CEO of Wines.com (which is not Wine.com, the larger and better known Internet retailer) is wearing really bad vampire makeup and talking about wine and garlic. When I wrote this Sunday morning, the video had seven hits, two of which were mine. Point made, I think.

Which does mean I don’t appreciate Halloween. I have fond memories of Halloween SweetTarts (grape, of course), and I have given away candy during Dallas’ Swiss Avenue Halloween-o-ganza. I just think wine and Halloween is stretching the point.

But I do appreciate creativity and humor, which is what this video (courtesy of BigScreamTV on YouTube) offers: Clever Halloween wine labels, presented by a pumpkin head. Bloodeaux, indeed.

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.

Wine prices and the 2011 California grape harvest

There is a titter of joy running through the California wine business as the 2011 harvest ends, and it's not because the quality of the harvest is particularly good. It's because, for the first time in several years, California growers are picking fewer grapes — by some estimates, as much as 10 percent less than last year.

This means that grape prices are expected to go up, which means that wine prices are expected to go up. Which means, after several years of flat and even decreasing wine prices, growers and producers see dollar signs on the horizon.

They're so happy, in fact, that there is even a drinking game celebrating the harvest. More, after the jump:

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The future of the wine business — and it’s not what the wine business thinks it is

AllisonThe Wine Curmudgeon has seen the future of the wine business, and it is not like anything that we have imagined. It is not about scores or cult wines or big name critics or even the Winestream Media. Rather, it is about consumers drinking wine because they like it or their friends like it or someone they know through social media likes it — and, most importantly, they really don’t care what anyone else thinks about what they like.

And, with apologies to Jon Landau, at a time when I needed to feel young and positive about wine, and not middle-aged and cranky and full of despair about cute labels and the flavor of the month and wine spelled with dollar signs, developments over the past month or so have reminded me of what wine is and why I love it and why I do this.

The starting point was Allison Davis’ brilliant rant and primer and manifesto on the Hairpin blog, addressed to those 25- to 35-year-old women who like wine but don’t understand why they’re not allowed to like it the way they want. Why, as Davis wrote, they end up “smiling through a glass of something at a dinner party that [they] can’t pronounce and aren’t sure if [they’re] supposed to enjoy, instead of actually enjoying the wine.” More, after the jump:

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Wine clubs and what their success says about the wine business

image from www.sxc.hu The one thing that has seemingly not slowed, despite the recession in the wine business, is the growth of wine clubs. Everyone, it seems, is offering them: Wineries, of course, but also newspapers and magazines, wine retailers, discounters, and even non-profits and charitable causes. Zagat, the restaurant guide, has a wine club, and a club even advertises on the blog. And, believe it or not, there are sites that rate wine clubs.

The Wine Curmudgeon did a post several years ago about what to look for in wine clubs, and most of that advice still holds. Clubs, by themselves, are neither good nor bad; it's up to the consumer to figure out whether they're getting a deal or not. Are the shipping charges fair? Do the wines seem to offer value? I miss the old Virtual Vineyards wine club, while there are several others that I don't want to even get junk mail from.

Most importantly, read the fine print. That's where you'll learn that the New York Times' wine club is run by another company, and doesn't really have anything to do with the newspaper or its wine critics. Or that the wine club rating site noted above may make recommendations based on whether it is "compensated" by the wine club it reviews.

Having said that, the growth of wine clubs raises a larger question. What's going on, and why is it going on now? More, after the jump:

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Incontrovertible proof that the wine business has changed forever

The Wine Curmudgeon was at World Market yesterday buying Rene Barbier Mediterranean white, which was on sale for $4. And what did I pass next to the checkout counter on my way to the wine department in the back? A locked display case of Dom Perignon Champagne.

Dom, as it’s known in the trade, starts at around $100 a bottle. It’s not unusual for liquor stores (and even grocery stores) to sell both cheap and expensive wine, but World Market’s philosophy has mostly centered around less expensive wines. In Dallas, its prices are usually the lowest; while there will be some $20 or more wine, it’s rarely anything in Dom’s class. More, after the jump:

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Barefoot and the wine magazines

Last week, Barefoot was annointed as the No. 1 wine brand in the country by SymphonyIRI Group, which tracks wine sales. At more or less the same time, the Wine Enthusiast ran a story that said restaurants "are where wine trends are generated and brands are built."

Can any two statements be more contradictory? Barefoot, which costs about $6 a bottle, is the ultimate anti-restaurant wine, a brand that has made its mark in grocery stores and is rarely seen in restaurants — and certainly not the kinds of restaurants that the Enthusiast writes about. This difference in perspective is Kakfka-esque, and it demonstrates once again why the wine industry is at odds with itself, and why wine continues to lag as the drink of choice among Americans.

More, after the jump:

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