Don't give me that girlie-man wine
Several months ago, I took the wine industry to task for marketing a low-cal white wine to women. It was a pretty bad wine -- dry, tasteless and lifeless. What the industry needed to do, I argued, was show women some real respect -- cut them in on the financial action in the wine industry, put them on corporate boards of directors, etc.
Now comes word that the industry is marketing a wine for men. Ray's Station Vineyards in Sonoma County is pitching "hearty red wines for men." OK. Let's see, what's the thinking here.
Well, the winemaker believes that there are a lot of men who worship, say, NASCAR and backyard BBQ, and they like wine, too.
"These guys, they're married, they've got a couple of kids," Brian Hilliard, head of marketing for Ray's Station told The Associated Press. "Wine is part of their lives, but it's not integrated in a way that they really force themselves to be knowledgeable."
Another Sonoma winemaker, Ravenswood, is marketing macho wines as well. "No wimpy wines!" declares a recent slogan.
Look, this is all very interesting and all very unnecessary. Most of the people who buy wines are women. They are buying them for their families. Their families include husbands. Many of the husbands have already been sold on the joy of drinking wine. In short, the industry is preaching to the choir.
That's because the wine industry, I'd argue, isn't really going after a new demographic of customers. It is merely trying to please the ones it already has. The wine industry has done a woeful job of marketing serious, quality wines to African-American markets, for example. Ditto for marketing to Hispanic markets, which is unfortunate given the high number of low-paid Hispanic workers employed by the industry.
This decision not to go after the African-American and Hispanic markets in a strong way is troubling. Blacks and Hispanics drink a lot of spirits and, unfortunately, they tend to buy the high-priced brands. Just spend some time watching the videos made by rappers and you will see that young urban minorities want to enjoy the good stuff.
The wine industry could add to its bottom line, but it would rather not deal with working-class customers. Oh, well.