The world drinks industry is somehow only now realizing that women purchase wine & spirits (how you get to be a multibillion dollar industry without noticing this is a discussion for another day) and have turned their mighty marketing energy to tap this significant portion of the population that currently purchases almost 60% of all wine and half of all spirits. Yeah, I know, I am confused too, seems they are already doing a good job of marketing to women and that it is men they need to be focused on. This discrepancy won't be a problem much longer if the trend in marketing to women that I saw in London is any indication. Beside the aforementioned lingerie models and pink vodka there was a host of other standard wine & spirits bottles that were either curvy, painted pink or as the vodka dyed pink directly all culminating in my favorite example - a pink-bottled (ala Pepto-Bismol) liqueur called Girl. Women of the world unite. Note to the drinks industry, unless you are willingly courting the 6-8 year-old girl crowd I would re-think your strategy.
There was one interesting wine product that I am not sure how I feel about yet. It could be a great way to introduce people to wine and understanding wine or a great opportunity to combine kitsch and embarrassment. I-wine is a bottle of blind wine with the actual grape variety hidden under the bottles main label and revealed by pulling this label off. To further aid you along in this journey you are provided with two scratch-n-sniff aroma strips. Yes, I said scratch-n-sniff. Take that Bordeaux classification of 1855 with your “no scratch-n-stiff” AOC regulations.
Overall the fair this year had few highlights; however, I did manage to speak to various different producers from Italy to get their opinion on the ongoing situation in Montalcino. The general consensus is that any commercial blowback will be limited to this section of the boot. Wishful thinking? Maybe but the producers made a good point that the Italian wine customer is very broad based and ticking off Brunello customers shouldn't affect other high end Italian wines and certainly not the bread and butter value wines that Italy is famous for. It may take years for Brunello to recover but the state of Italian wine is still fairly healthy. I hope they are right as I would hate to see this one hiccup disturb the great work that has been done in Italy over these last few years. Now I have to go and review this new vodka designed for men, it is dyed blue, called “Macho Beast” and the bottle is shaped like a…no, that can't be.
Robert Scibelli is a lecturer and administrator at New York's premier wine school, International Wine Center.