Winebits 328: Scottish wine, wine marketing, lawsuits

Winebits 328: Scottish wine, wine marketing, lawsuits
Scottish wine for a Scottish dish, haggis

? Talk about terroir: A Scottish winemaker — yes, that’s correct — says climate change has made it possible to make wine in his country. Christopher Trotter, a chef and food writer, wants to grow six acres of grapes in eastern Scotland, and says that the warmest weather in centuries will make it possible. One caveat: It’s still cooler than most of the world’s wine regions, so he has to use grapes that are cold hardy and that don’t necessarily make great wine. The article, from the Bloomberg news service, is also an excellent look at how warmer temperatures around the world will affect the wine business.

? A glass of Chloe, please: The Wine Group, which gave the world Cupcake, is making another marketing play, this time with a brand called Chloe. As Robert Joseph writes, the company’s approach has nothing to do with wine per se, but with how it is sold to the public. Chloe is being marketed like jewelry or perfume, costing about one-third more than the $10 to $12 Cupcake. This is The Wine Group’s particular genius, and which is rarely seen in wine, that it can position its brands as lifestyle products and get a premium for what will almost certainly be a very ordinary bottle of Italian pinot grigio (given the quality of its other wines). But, as many have noted, the people who buy these kinds of wines aren’t buying them for what’s in the bottle.

? Bring out the lawyers: The Wine Curmudgeon has always enjoyed watching companies sue each other over labels and brand names, and this one is particularly enjoyable. Beverage Digest reports that Diageo, the world’s largest drinks company, says family-owned Heaven Hill is trampling on its intellectual property in Canada with a product called Admiral Nelson spiced rum, which too closely resembles Diageo’s Captain Morgan spiced rum. How many billable hours will this require? The article discusses — seriously, I suppose — that one issue in the lawsuit will be how similar the character of Nelson, the greatest hero in British naval history, is to Morgan, who was a pirate. Sadly, wigs are no longer worn in Canadian courts, or this would be even more fun to watch.

3 thoughts on “Winebits 328: Scottish wine, wine marketing, lawsuits

  • By Brian B -

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Billable hours. The law firms are probably on retainers, so they look for anything remotely similar, press the client to act, and bingo, incoming money.
    Something similar has happened in the cycling world, with Specialized going after companies with “similar’ ideas.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      The scary part, Brian, is that if you talk to marketing types, they are convinced everyone is trying to steal their idea. During the Cristalino-Cristal lawsuit, I asked a wine marketer whose opinion I respected whether the whole thing was silly. She said, with a straight face, that it was important that Cristal sue.

  • By Adam -

    Pretty spot on with Chloe. It’s really sexy packaging. Looks great, feels great in the hand. And in practice that and price (which seems a bit high) are what matter to most people. I’ve only had the Chard and it was definitely very ordinary indeed.

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