Monday, October 18, 2010

Wine's Pleasure? It's All about Marketing!

Does this picture look yummy to you?

Lars Klove for The New York Times

It certainly does to me!

Aside from being a photo geek, I also happen to be a big wine snob.

It actually came from an article titled "Wine's Pleasure: Are They All in Your Head?" by the New York times' wine critic, Eric Asimov. Asimov briefly talked about a study done by food writer, Robin Goldstein. In the study, Goldstein recruited 500 volunteers to rate 540 different wines that are unidentified to the participants. The price of the wines ranges from $1.50 to $150 per bottle. The results of the study suggest that “a $10 bottle of bubbly from Washington state outscored Dom PĂ©rignon, which sells for $150 a bottle, while Two-Buck Chuck, the cheap Charles Shaw California cabernet sauvignon, topped a $55 bottle of Napa Valley cabernet.”

Think it is pure journalism? Think again!

I know how you feel! In the era of marketing, we all seem like a bunch of babies born yesterday! The article is actually "advertising" for Goldstein's book “The Wine Trials,” which was going to be released one month later after the article was published.

According to Dr. Veronika Papyrina, a Marketing assistant professor at San Francisco State University, good PR works don't leave any finger prints. While PR works in journalism seem way more creditable than marketing, it also cost less! Dr. Papyrina also claims that "40% ~60% of what appears to journalism comes from PR work."

A few month ago, I was at Joseph Phelps vineyard in Napa Valley. As I checked out the prices on the tasting menu, I found one that is $250, at least 5 times more expensive than the other ones on the menu. It's called Backus Cabernet. While the deal-breaker price caught my eye, my tongue was barely impressed, neither.

I shouldn't be surprised, right? Every magician lost its magic when the audience figures out its trick. Even though I couldn't be a happy naive fool any more, I did very much enjoy the unbeatable weather and the handsome scenery of Napa.

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