Time Magazine wrote a story about me in 2006 when my company Women & Wine, was in its infancy. They quoted me with this phrase that as soon as it came out of my mouth I knew I’d someday have it on my grave. But at least I get a laugh everytime I repeat it. It goes something like this (and for those of you who recognize the references, my age is showing!)
“I don’t mind shaving with a pink BIC razor but I don’t want to drink the Virginia Slims of wine!”
For those who don’t remember this brand, it was a cigarette that was long and slim that was marketed just for women back in the 70’s. Marketers thought that we (women) needed our own brands—especially something sexy like a pack of Virginia Slims. Introduced with the slogan “You’ve come a long way baby!” the brand launched to a test market in 1968 and was so successful that it went full throttle within 3.5 months. It’s been selling well ever since.
So let’s get back to the business of marketing wine just for women. White Lies was the biggest loser in the marketing wine to women business back in 2006-7. The company, a very well respected brand name Beringer, decided that we needed a low calorie wine and spent heavily to market this creation. Each cork had a “lie” on it—my personal favorite was “I got it on sale”. There were 8 lies total—I don’t know if there was any symbolism in that.
Anyway—bomb isn’t even the word to be used for this campaign. Last I saw it was marked down from $8.99 to $3.99 on a back shelf at BevMo.
There are others but the worst offenders are the private label wines for the large box and grocery stores that put cute pictures, animals or flowers on wines that have very few details about the origin of the juice. Worse, the same “wine” is sometimes repackaged with another label under another name. Yikes.
That’s not to say that wines with cute names or pictures of animals or flowers can’t be great. I know of several. But here’s the catch. When you pay 85 cents out of every dollar for the marketing of a wine that appears on the aisles of these big box stores or groceries then isn’t it better to be a bit more curious about what you’re spending your $10 to $15 on, and create a relationship with a wine retailer to assist you in your personal journey of learning about wine?
Sure it’s more convenient to buy in the supermarket (where allowed by law) but in the same way that you have your favorite florist, manicurist, etc. a wine retailer is a friend and wants to help you navigate those challenging wine waters (no pun intended).
Personally, I’d rather drink Midlife Crisis (made by a wonderful couple who work Mon-Fri in LA and then drive up to their ‘winery’ in Paso Robles every weekend and have made their dream a reality!) a small production hand-crafted wine by passionate people then something mall produced for the grocery store crowd.
If you’d like more information about how to enjoy wine in and out of your home—or to meet other like-minded people who feel the same, go to Women & Wine and become a member and yes, we now have our own retail boutique called Wine Valet at Two Rodeo Drive because we want to be there for you when you want to discover your newest varietal.
Photo Courtesy of Women & Wine