A troubling trend is starting to appear in my Inbox.
[ Editor’s note: I wonder how many cheesy detective novels now begin with that premise… ]
Somewhat ironically, the troubling trend seems to mostly be coming from very well-meaning wine producers and their various public relations arms / firms / etc., and with very well-meant intentions. But the gameplan execution is all fumbled-at-the-five-yard-line.
What’s happening is that I am seeing a lot (LOT!) more wine brands clue into the fact that what differentiates them in what has become the single most competitive wine market in the history of mankind is, in part, their stories. So far, so good.
Some of them have even clued in on the other great differentiator in a market in which we are deluged with mostly non-human, robotic, advertorial interactions: the simple act of caring enough to deal with customers and consumers as real people, and giving them the extra love inherent in good service.
What they seem to be forgetting, however, is that the price of entry in this intensely competitive marketplace that is the modern wine biz is quality. If we in the media don’t get a chance to check out the wine, we cannot answer the fundamental question of whether or not the service and story are worth getting into in the first place.
The troubling trend? I am getting inundated with requests to talk about wine brand stories, connected to wines that I’ve yet to taste. Whoops!…
This is so obviously stupid, it’s almost like asking someone whether they’d rather have a coffee, or get kicked in the teeth. Well… DUH…
Sorry, folks, but 1WineDude readers are not stupid. They love the stories, they love the real people and real activities behind authentic wine brands. But the juice has to pass muster to even step into the stadium.
The very first question out of the mouth of anyone with properly-functioning brain cells who is reading about fine wine is going to be this: “So… how is the wine?”
If I (or anyone else in the wine media) cannot provide an informed opinion on that, the rest of your offering – the stories, the people, whatever – doesn’t mean jack. I’m sorry, I know that those things are important to you wine producers, but nobody will care about them if your wine stinks. If I cannot answer the fundamental question of whether or not I think a wine is worth attention for a particular audience, then the utility of anything else I say about that wine is limited. “Limited” as in approaching zero.
Now, I need samples like I need a hole in my head, or like I need a larger dog. But the bottom line is that if a wine brand is offering their story in the hopes of coverage, but is not offering some chance of having their wine tasted beforehand, then they are not really offering anything at all. They are trolling for lazy media coverage, which is almost certainly the kind of coverage that you do not want when it comes to hawking fine wine.
Wine peeps, it’s okay for you to reach out and offer those stories, but don’t delude yourselves into thinking that those stories are somehow a substitute for your product; they’re not, and if there was a time when they ever where, that time has long, long passed us all by.
No wine? Sorry, folks – no story!