I understand that marketers in the U.S. like to glorify and romanticize wine, and often try to paint a glamourous picture of “the wine lifestyle.” You know what I’m talking about — the images of a pristinely dressed couple strolling through the vineyards holding hands. The hip millennials in their untucked stripped shirts and little black dresses, a glass of wine dangling from their hands. The dinner table with a full spread of immaculately served food and a bottle of wine in a silver ice bucket.
I get it – people think of wine as a luxury product, and wine is a token symbol of “the good life.”
But can’t wine be approached and marketed in a different way — one that is a more closely tied to wine’s agricultural roots and one which more accurately reflects the “wine lifestyle?” When I think “wine lifestyle,” I think of walking through a fog-laden vineyard in jeans and a fleece, worried if the fruit is going to ripen enough before harvest. I think of a winery team throwing together some ham sandwiches for lunch and drinking beer during a long stretch of punchdowns and hose-wrangling. I think of calloused, grape-stained hands.
OK, so the picture above is a bit over the top. But I’d love to see wineries adopt a new approach to the term “wine lifestyle” — one that is more Ace Hotel and less W Hotel; more comfort food and less micro-gastronomy; more pick-up truck and less SUV. Maybe then consumers will start thinking about wine as part of our food system, rather than as an accessory.