Innovation in The Wine Industry Again

Okay, I’ll take the bait. I can be taken in by a clever pr campaign.

Last week I received a bit of a teaser campaign in three parts. I suspect several of my wine blogging colleagues received the same packages—an anonymously sent picture of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with a hang tag note that that says, “Matched Perfectly.” A couple of days later I received two aces from a deck of cards with a hang tag note again noting, “Matched Perfectly.” Finally, a day later comes a bottle of wine from Riddling Bros., a marketing firm that has created a spec. wine package and positioning called “Goes With Cellars …”

If my research is correct, the lead principal, Fred Schwartz, is an advertising agency vet with his own company, Fred & Company, which provides creative and strategic consulting to the wine industry.

It’s interesting then to note that the concept of “Goes With Cellars …” is virtually identical to that of “Wine that Loves …” Many bloggers will recall the surge of P.R. that followed the introduction of “Wine that Loves …” in the spring of this year. Many bloggers had an opinion that wavered somewhere between indifference to derision, but then, we’re not the audience, either.
The concept is simple, and in having conversations with Tracy Gardner, the principal for the Amazing Food Wine Company, the umbrella organization for “Wine that Loves …” it’s genius in its simplicity.

Taking a page from the concept of Blue Ocean strategy whereby research is conducted to find uncontested market space and then executing a product strategy to address that unfulfilled demand, the “Wine that loves …” and “Goes With Cellars …” concept simply creates wine that does not have any varietal, appellation or country of origin information, but is matched to the food that it would be served with; food that is commonly eaten by a wide swath of Americans like grilled steak, grilled salmon, pasta, roasted chicken, etc.

From a practical perspective, it makes perfect sense—most wine is consumed the same day it is purchased, and usually it is purchased at the grocery store when other dinner provisions are being picked up. Why wouldn’t this be a good idea?

I now also have full context on why Tracy, in my conversations with him via work with my employer, was incredibly secretive—secretive to the extent that I initially thought him a bit paranoid. He apparently knew what I wasn’t thinking about—a good idea will be quickly replicated.

Besides the idea flying in the face of wine enthusiasts for whom knowledge and esoterica is stock in trade, I suspect this concept in its original form with “Wine that Loves …” and its secondary form, “Goes With Cellars …” has a tremendous opportunity in the market.

Goes With Cellars appears to be targeting a more finite audience with more specificity in its wine—Beef: Peppercorn Steak with an associated recipe whereas “Wine that Loves …” is broader with just simply, “Grilled Steak.”

Anybody that thinks that both of these concepts are fads that will meet a timely death would do well to recall a publishing phenomenon started a decade ago called the, “For Dummies …” series. These are general reference books aimed at a broad audience that were quickly copied in the market by a host of competitors including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide.” Both of these series were initially met with a lot of resistance from the intelligentsia and academians who derided the “dumbing down” of information in such a crass, pandering format.

There are a lot of parallels between our wine scenario and this publishing scenario, and 10 years later we know the outcome and success of the book publishing opportunity. The “For Dummies …” brand is now, by many estimates, as recognizable as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

Time will tell which of these wine concepts becomes the “For Dummies …” of the wine world, but I suspect one will.

Source: www.goodgrape.com