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Pot Pies and Wine

I’m what you can call enlightened.  Just a couple of years ago it could be considered “Metrosexual,” but I think the luster has worn off of that word so we’ll stick with enlightened.

I was a bachelor until I wed at the ripe age of 32, darn near a dinosaur in Midwestern terms.  And, I also, frequently, wrestle the grocery shopping chore from my wife.  As a card carrying consumer it is my inalienable right to keep up with what is going on at the grocery store—all of the grocery stores we shop at, too.  I mean, who goes to just one store anymore in this day and age of Trader Joe’s, Whole Paycheck, er, Whole Foods, traditional grocery stores and, of course, Wal-Mart Supercenters. 

Just as other men are glad to be done with their intermittent shopping days that yielded a twelve-pack and some Tombstone pizzas, I’m roshambo’ing my wife to see who wins and goes to the store. 

I like to see what’s available, what is new and, as well,  I like to make sure I’m not missing out on something in the end-caps of the wine section and that I’m looking for the mis-priced gem stuck in a sea of labels. 

Hey, Mondavi Cabernet Reserve and Mondavi Private Selection.  It’s an easy mistake to make for consumers, not too mention sales reps.

Though, frankly, these days you can go shopping, never hitting the wine aisle, and still get an adjusted perspective on the world of wine.

I think wine has become the new pomegranate, or any other new ingredient that makes its way in and around the plate as a trend.  I think radishes and cauliflower are currently getting their due and these trends tend to migrate down the food chain—starting at white table cloth restaurants and eventually down to pre-packaged consumer goods.

With that in mind, has anybody besides me noticed that wine is a about a ½ step away from joining the big boys in the pantheon of consumer goods joint marketing?  Instead of seeing boxes of brownies emblazoned with the “Made with Hershey’s chocolate” and “Made with Splenda” we’re just as likely to start seeing Häagan Daz ice cream with “Rosenblum Zinfandel” dessert wine.

Consider that, resveratrol aside, wine hasn’t typically been much of a foodstuffs selling point.  We’re still kind of arguing with ourselves about wine and food pairing, right?  The thought of combining the two in a ready to eat format seems almost foreign.  Wine is kind of a single channel business—it’s either sold in the bottle, or it’s not sold. 

Not so with other luxury indulgences like chocolate and coffee.

But, I see it coming.  This week it is the one-off Healthy Choice Roasted Chicken Chardonnay, made by ConAgra, touted in their “Flavor to Taste” television commercials with the fact that they use wine reductions.

Or, in other news found here a dairy out of New York has come up with wine flavored ice creams.  There’s Ala Port Wine, Peachy White Zinfandel and Red Raspberry Chardonnay.

I was in a meeting recently with an entrepreneur who wants to create the energy drink category for wine—adding in resveratrol at supplement levels as well as other heart-healthy vitamins, creating the “Red Bull” of wine.

Where there is smoke there is fire and with wines sales growing at such astronomical rates, I think we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in ways that wine and wine brands can and will be marketed in the future.

Undoubtedly, a ConAgra Brand Manager is calculating additional infinitesimal product segmentation for their Banquet Beef Pot Pies with *NEW* “Redwood Creek Merlot Red Wine Gravy.”

Is this healthy for the industry?  Absolutely?  Will it rankle purists?  Without a doubt.  Does anybody want to take bets that this won’t happen with greater frequency in the near future?  Absolutely not and at that point I might give my wife unfettered rights to the grocery store.



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