In the wine world, marketing gets bizarre

Marketers go too far in their attempts to widen the market for wine.

Crosscut archive image.

For those who want to save their virgin white teeth - a solution: wine straws.

Marketers go too far in their attempts to widen the market for wine.

First, a couple of items from the archives.

September 2007, the burning question: finding new ways to sell wine. Howard Goldberg, who once wrote for the New York Times, thinks the answer is for Bordeaux estates to sell shrink-wrapped, powdered wine, which could be reconstituted (with designer water, no doubt) into vino. Great idea, Howard; we'll get back to you.

Meantime, TetraPak (the juice-box people from Sweden) have been hired by a Cordier (a French wine merchant) to "bottle" a line of boxed Bordeaux called Tandem. It's all about the most elusive of consumers: "the young people." Cordier's regional marketing director for wine told the Wall Street Journal that France needs to change the image of wine. "We have ignored young people and now we are paying the price."

Says The Independent,"The wine trade needs to encourage young people to come into wine and trade up. So long as it's quality wine, selling it in a carton with a straw is one way to encourage newcomers, who may otherwise just drink alcopops, to try wine instead." A more predictable reaction from the venerable London merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, whose spokesman huffed, "I don't think it is a hugely good idea. It brings wine to the level of fruit juices and you don't want to bring young people into wine in that way." Certainly not. Good lord, no.

September 2008: To counteract bad breath, Keri Glassman (a registered dietician who's paid to dispense her advice on CBS) recommends drinking green tea, eating yogurt and chewing sugar-free gum. To avoid staining your teeth with red wine or coffee, she suggests sipping them through a straw "to be on the safe side."

Which leads us to a more recent breathless press release from Wine Straws. For folks who've just undergone the ordeal of teeth-whitening and want to preserve their new-found virginity. Drink red, smile white. And only three bucks for four, seven bucks for a dozen. I can tell you what I'm going to do, whether from a box or a bottle: practice unsafe drinking.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors

Ronald Holden

Ronald Holden

Ronald Holden is a regular Crosscut contributor. His new book, published this month, is titled “HOME GROWN Seattle: 101 True Tales of Local Food & Drink." (Belltown Media. $17.95).