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Vin de Napkin - Fair Trade?

Let me make no mistake about it—I like marketing.  I consider myself a marketer at heart.  However, I draw a clear and distinct line between marketing that is useful and authentic and marketing that is - potentially - disingenuous. 

Sam’s Club entry with a Fair Trade Argentinian Malbec may be completely and utterly above board and helpful to the natives who grow the grapes, but the cynic in me, an observer of stories about Wal-Mart’s buying tactics over the years, is skeptical, very skeptical.  And, I hate marketing that attempts to pander.  And, however you slice it, using poverty to market—whether its banana’s, coffee or wine, is inherently pandering.  I’d rather the $3 Wal-Mart brand, Oak Leaf, be called organic—at least I would know I was being marketed to without the pressure of thinking about somebody’s family in Latin America rubbing peso’s together trying to make ends meet.

Maybe the thing that got me was the inclusion of the word “dignity.”  Yeah, the biggest retailer in the world judging what dignity is as they negotiate discount on a contract ...  they might want to go into any one of their stores on the 1st of the month and tell me if it’s dignified that people that are barely scrapping by are checking out people that are spending their welfare checks.

I don’t know if this post is capitalist, socialist, marxist, libertarian or somewhere in between, but Wal-Mart Fair Trade wine rubs me the wrong way.



Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (4) |


On 11/17, Taster B wrote:

“Wal-Mart Fair Trade” is a contradiction in terms.
We used to entertain the fantasy of buying a vineyard in Argentina until seeing Mondovino—those grape-growers certainly weren’t being granted dignity or a living wage…

On 11/18, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Fair Trade is a certification, not just something slapped on a label.  Would you prefer Wal-Mart not sell this wine?  Wouldn’t you then criticize them for not having a Fair Trade wine?  Seems like they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t in your eyes.


On 11/18, Jeff wrote:

Hey Vini,

Thanks for commenting, I was wondering when you were coming up for air after crush.  No posts on your site since August?

I hate to disagree with you, but I would not criticize Wal-Mart for NOT having a Fair Trade wine.  To be honest with you, I don’t shop for wine at Wal-Mart, so I’m not sure the thought would even cross my mind.

Just the same, I think “Fair Trade” and Wal-Mart are a bit incongruent. 

If they want to do something meaningful, that isn’t marketing oriented, I’m sure they could come up with a gazillion ideas.


On 05/20, TN Pas Cher wrote:

disagree with you, but I would not criticize Wal-Mart for NOT having a Fair Trade


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