Posted by: Jim | February 27, 2007

Clearing the etalaP

Something struck me as funny last night. I was whisking down the wine aisle at Trader Joe’s (not buying wine, just whisking), and a label caught my eye.  

Lots of traditional vintners have been “whining” about the use of snazzy labels by newer

entries into the wine industry. These newb wineries are apparently inferior, but their labels appeal to a different market, and are thus getting sales.

Enter “Puzzle Time” merlot, stage left.

Their strategy descends even lower in an attempt to catch the eye of customers. It struck me as funny because word search puzzles are somewhat low-brow compared to the high-brow nature of wine drinkers.

Don’t you think?



  1. I think you hit it spot on. It seems that this Mendocino County vintner is trying to attract a new type of buyer who would not normally take an interest in researching the complex world of wine. However, word is that this wine isn’t even on up to par with its duplicitous label. It might sell a few bottles, but will likely not create any lasting converts.

  2. yes, I think! I myself, might walk by and comment about the out-of-the-ordinary label, but it wouldn’t make me buy it in the least. hmm…
    As far as the traditional vintners ‘whining’ about the use of snazzy labels…. I say give them some cheese to go with their whine.
    The wine will speak for itself. If the bottle is attractive, (and I admit, I love an ‘original’ bottle) one may purchase it, but if its crappy wine, they’ll not benefit from resale. So… in a competitive market, more power to the companies who are original. Especially if it’s good wine.

  3. I forget where I saw this, but years ago I watched a program (might have been on the Discovery Channel) where in a blind taste test, a couple hundred of self described “wine aficionados” at a tasting party could not tell the difference between a $15 bottle of second-rate mouthwash, and a quality vintage.

  4. I would like to see the reverse, crap low-brow products using eye-catching intellectually challenging labels. “Wow! A brief essay on the philosophy of Schopenhauer… I guess I am gonna have to buy this peanut butter…”

  5. In a way, I think you are on to something KingFelix. Entire Supermarkets can be dedicated to selling products whose packaging matches the desired demographic.

    – Markets for parents who want their kids to eat food with educational packaging. Shop at BrainBrands!
    – Markets for people who want to read about Brangelina and TomKat. Shot at VacuousPak
    -Porn packaging! Booby Foods

  6. Possible endorsement – “I’m down at Booby Foods again, and I ain’t even hungry!”

    You remind me Jim. When I lived in Memphis, I did all the food shopping at a Schnucks and I followed all the ups and downs of the Brad and Angelina marriage, simply by scanning the covers of the celeb mags as I waited in line. Each time, I’d get my update: ANGELINA: I want to leave. Next time: BRAD: I’m ready to try again… and so on, all summer.

    I really resent the one-way nature of this. I would love to inflict Myself on Brad and Angelina, have them staring at a homemade celeb mag about ME while they wait in line at a supermarket.

    JASON: “Stop playing the grateful dead” he demanded

    JASON’S WIFE: “Sleeping in the spare room!”

    and so on.

  7. […] least one commentator has cited these labels as proof that wine manufacturers are looking for new “low-brow” […]

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