I was alerted to a new US based wine branding business earlier today.
Wine That Loves™ is a concept that has been seen before, at least in this country, in Tesco under the name “Great With” (something like Great With Chicken and Great with Fish). They did not last, but some wines did OK for a time.
This new drive supposedly comes from a top sommelier with credentials, Ralph Hersom, so I would assume the wines themselves are of a reasonable quality.
On the positive side, many people starting their personal exploration of wine want to have it at home, and most likely with food. The sheer range of wines available in most countries is off-putting if you have no knowledge, so any pointer as to what is “good” will help. I know that the limited food matching suggestions on the back labels of supermarket wines can have a big impact on their success, so it makes sense to offer this information up-front.
The problem for most regular wine labels is that they want to appeal to the broadest possible group of people, so they try to be helpful whilst also not trying to turn anyone away.
“This wine is great on its own, but is a perfect match for fish, chicken, beef, vegetables, pasta, and any other food I don’t have space to mention.”
Not very useful.
These wines, on the other hand go to the other extreme.
“Wine That Loves Pizza“.
Erm, nothing else? Might it not be OK with some pastas then?
“No!” Screams the bottle. “Buy Wine That Loves Pasta for that instead. Oh, and it must be Pasta with Tomato Sauce“
What I find particularly unusual is that they don’t even seem to want to tell you what the wine is. If you do use this as an introduction to wine, then you might discover that wines can be a great match for pizza and pasta, but how do you then take it to the next level, ‘Fly Solo’ as it were? Maybe it is on a back label, but the site certainly doesn’t give anything away. In fact their descriptions are somewhat vague and unhelpful, but simplicity is a key I suppose.
From the perspective of building a Wine Culture, I applaud the effort to reach new audiences with a very specific message. However, taken to the extreme this could result in the further commodification of wine as merely a food match, so maybe this should be accompanied by some ongoing wine education?
Oh, and if I were starting a company like this, I might include some mention of how to get hold of the wines that have been so carefully selected and packaged. Just a thought.