Wine Talk

Snooth User: spikedc

Jacob's Creek Counterfeiters

Posted by spikedc, Apr 7, 2011.

Article in our National newspaper today about Trading Standards seizing hundreds of fake bottles of Jacob's Creek from China. They are identical to the real thing apart from the label reading 'Wine of Austrlia' and they were selling for £2 a bottle.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 7, 2011.

"Nike sneakers?" "Check." "Applications software?" "Check." "First run movies?" "Check."  "What's left we can pirate?" "We've still got all this leftover lead from the kids toys.  What are we going to do with it?" "We'll make foil capsules for wine bottles."  "Wine! That's it!"  "Better make it Australian.  Yellow Tail drinkers won't know it's counterfeit." 

With apologies to SH and honest Aussie wine makers, of which there are a few left after the Schild brouhaha.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 7, 2011.

Sadly Foxall at $8 a bottle the market research data tends to suggest most drinkers at that point are buying on price and discern very little on quality.  Excluding of course Snoothers who are chasing bargains.

Yellowtail just goes to prove that price and formula is a key driver for sales.  The wine is made with a sweeter palate to directly appeal to the "average" US palate.

It does pose an interesting question as to why the US consumer seems from the evidence I have seen enjoys sweet over savoury.

Any insights from my American Colleagues

Reply by spikedc, Apr 8, 2011.

A comment from one of the articles about the fake wine made me smile...

'If you’re lucky or perhaps unlucky enough to get your hands on one of these typographically collectable Jacob’s Creek bottles you never know what it may be worth in years to come – possibly more than a genuine bottle would set you back'

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 8, 2011.

spikedc, that is hilarious.  Like a misprinted stamp.  No doubt worth more than the real thing...

SH: At that end of the market you are getting people who are deciding between wine and soda, not Nebbiolo from Langhi versus Barbaresco.  And those Americans drink a LOT of soda, so sweet is where their taste is.  Brand recognition plus sweet equals Coca Cola or Yellowtail/KJ Reserve Chardonnay...

Reply by GregT, Apr 8, 2011.

Plus, there's corn syrup in everything produced in the US. 

As far as the US preferring sweet over savory - I think that's universal.  Humans have a natural affinity for sweet things because they are what was good to eat. I imagine the same holds true in Australia - they're producing the wine after all. 

From what I've seen regarding the Chinese - they're even more extreme in their preference for sweeter wine.  Many may buy wine for "prestige" but it's not what they love to drink.  I spent a long time trying to sell wine to a few Chinese stores.  They found everything to be very sour. I got exasperated - it's wine!  Of course it's sour.

Finally they explained to me that it was considered sophisticated to give some wine as a gift when visiting someone or for a holiday, so that's why it was usually purchased.  And unless the people knew the wine as a famous one, they'd buy by the look of the label.  Nice colors with some gold were popular.  They may or may not drink the wine.

I loved that because it's exactly how many non-wine drinkers approach wine in the US and elsewhere.  Mere palatability is all they ask and that's rarely found in a beverage they're not used to and not particularly fond of when they try it. Same in much of the world, including Europe if the people aren't wine drinkers.

Like Mary Poppins said - a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. 

Reply by dmcker, Apr 9, 2011.

Well if they're going after the Jacob's Creek rose sparkling that I was forcefeed a little while back, even a Chinese concoction might be better...

Definitely, Foxall, the novelty value would make the misprint worth more than the original ever was.

Greg, Japan, too, started it's wine marketplace via German wines. Not only were they generally sweeter, but they also were clear like Sake. Now, however, that's a very, very minor segment of the overall market. Over time China's sensibilities will evolve, too, but we're decades away from the maturity that even Japan has.

Reply by GregT, Apr 9, 2011.

Plus they're now like the 5th largest wine-producing nation in the world.

I think they may already be the second largest Bordeaux-producing nation in the world too!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 9, 2011.

GregT: Line of the week for "second largest Bordeaux prodcucing..."  Too funny. Anyone can pirate stuff that's truly internatiional, like digital products. To pirate "terroir" takes chutzpah.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 9, 2011.

Oddly, according to taste psychologists, umami and sweet are the only sensations that people find pleasurable under all conditions.  GregT is right that it's universal, but not limited to sweet. McDonald's has the formula down--they didn't call it toasting the buns (my first teenage job!) but carmelizing, and that was long before the word came into vogue.  (We're talking '70s here.) Why use that word, I asked the franchise owner?  Because the buns were specially made with high sugar levels (residual sugar beyond what the yeast could consume--is this where Jess Jackson got the idea?) just for that reason.  Without actually making the buns harder by toasting, you could brown the sugar (easier than toasting longer chain carbs) quickly, get the effect, and condition people to want more. Put that with high-salt foods and meat-like flavors and you sell an addictive product and make people thirsty for more soft drinks. Bringing us to where we are today.

Reply by dmcker, Apr 10, 2011.

Why is it that everyone I know who goes back after a number of years offshore to any Western European country you care to name (well the UK was always that way, anyway) complains that everyone they know is drinking pop, eating fastfood and has gained michelin rings around the belly. Kroc and his fastfood empire seem to have doomed the world....

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 11, 2011.

GregT - I know wild generalisations are dangerous, and I think you are right about the general sweet v savoury aspect in all cultures.  I think we would all remember preferring things sweet as children and young adults and that for most of us there was a period of learning to enjoy drier wine styles and savoury foods.

My main point I was trying to flush out is that when comparing equivalent price point wine in the commercial market the US consumer seems to prfer a wine with higher residual sugar than most other wine drinking cultures.

Yellowtail whilst an Australian Wine is predominantly made for the US market which accounts for a substantial % of its sales.

It is also interesting that the Jacobs Creek core products sell much better in the UK than in Australia and that the response from UK consumers is that they overwhelmingly prefer JC to the equivalent French wine at the same price point.  I also note this is the case with Hardy's Nottage Hill and Yalumba Oxford Landing and a number of Fosters brands.  The UK consumer also prefers those wines over Yellowtail.  But the opposite applies in the US.


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