Winebits 583: Wine lawsuit, wine snobs, customer service

wine lawsuitsThis week’s wine news: A wine lawsuit involving a teeter-totter, plus a wine marketer says the industry is its own worst enemy and declining retail customer service

Another lawsuit: Regular visitors here know how much the Wine Curmudgeon enjoys wine-related lawsuits (and has even been, slightly, part of one). So it is with a fair amount of glee that I report this suit, via Wine Industry Insight – a small Napa Valley winery suing a large importer over a label where an elephant is on a teeter-totter. Yes, I know this is serious business for the parties involved, and trade dress and intellectual property are important legal concepts. But still, an elephant on a teeter-totter?

It’s not the Millennials? Someone in the wine business actually agrees with the Wine Curmudgeon about wine being its own worst enemy. Leandro Cabrini, the founder and CEO of Wild Yeast Media, writes: “We are killing [the wine business] with our snobbery and a refusal to listen and see what’s going on around us. We refuse to adapt, maintaining that everything is (and should be) the way it was 20, 30, 50, 100 years ago. Do you know what happens when we don’t adapt? We die. We don’t care about our consumers. … “ Wow. Hard to believe, but maybe someone will actually listen to Cabrini.

Speaking of which: Customer satisfaction with supermarkets dipped over the past year amid an overall decline in all retail, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index annual report. Why does this matter to wine drinkers? Because grocery stores probably account for more than half of the wine sold in the U.S., and as much as 75 percent in some states. Reported the study: “Service personnel are less helpful and courteous in person and over the phone. The checkout process is slower and rates lowest.” Is it any wonder I always recommend a quality independent retailer for wine shopping?

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2 thoughts on “Winebits 583: Wine lawsuit, wine snobs, customer service

  • By Mike Dunne - Reply

    With all due respect to you and to Leandro Cabrini, the wine industry isn’t dying – it’s growing – and it isn’t deaf and blind. Vintners are adapting to a quickening environment, almost to a fault if you’ve seen and tasted some of the new sorts of “wines” they are releasing. Wine snobbery exists only as the butt of jokes; it’s as dead as “neo-Prohibitionism.” See what I’ve done there? Just like Leandro Cabrini, I’ve made claims without backing them up with actual data.

  • By Jay Bileti - Reply

    Adapt or die. Ask the taxicab industry what happened with Uber. There are pockets of encouraging activity. I saw some youngsters recently drinking sparkling wine out of a can and met a Gen X winemaker crafting wines for his contemporaries. I think I see a small break in the clouds – no sun yet but it’s getting brighter.

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