I prefer Syrah over both
September 4, 2007 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Pop culture having an influence on the wine industry/wine consumers?

Every since the movie/book Sideways came out, I'd noticed and read that (in the US) Pinot Noir has become more popular and Merlot less so.

Are there any other instances of pop culture affecting wine like this? (both in the US and other countries)
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Marketers have referred to The Bridget Jones Effect on Chardonnay sales among women in the 1990's.
posted by brautigan at 3:38 PM on September 4, 2007

Hip-hop and champagne:

"In 2002, more than 20% of African-American wine consumers drank champagne and sparkling wine, up from 16.2% in 1994, according to a survey by Adams Beverage Group, a trade publication based in Connecticut. In that same period, white wine consumers drinking sparkling wines steadily hovered at 18%.

Another survey by Scarborough Research confirmed that more blacks are drinking champagne and sparkling wine, and found they tend to be between ages 21 and 34. Scarborough also found that wine consumers who have been to an R&B or hip-hop concert in the past year are more than twice as likely to have bought champagne or sparkling wine in the past three months."

posted by iviken at 3:45 PM on September 4, 2007

You might also want to look at the drinking habits of Mr James Bond.

He prefers to drink Mouton Rothschild (a ’47 when he has dinner with Goldfinger, a half a bottle On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in Moonraker, a Mouton Rothschild ’34 and in Diamonds Are Forever, it's a bottle of Mouton Rothschild ’55).

As for the fizzy stuff, Bollinger was his champagne of choice although Dom Perignon was also imbibed fairly regularly.

Whether this affected sales or not I have no idea but there may be some Bond drinking evidence here!
posted by brautigan at 4:07 PM on September 4, 2007

Did anyone order Cosmopolitans before "Sex and the City"?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:21 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Finally, 2 other possibilities:

Demi Moore ordering a 1991 Pahlmeyer chardonnay apparently boosted sales overnight...

...and in Silence Of The Lambs the Lecter's review of "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." must have had some effect one way or the other.
posted by brautigan at 4:21 PM on September 4, 2007

Anecdotally, I drank white Russians before the Big Lebowski was released and I noticed a spike in their popularity after the film became celebrated. Not so much anymore.

Along the lines of other vices, I'm pretty sure certain brands of cigarettes became popular (or got a cultural currency boost) from appearances in WWII movies. Can't recall any specific examples.
posted by quadog at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2007

I would assume any brand that got name checked in a movie would boost its sales in the short term - that's product placement 101. But I don't think any movie had as much of an impact on the wine industry as Sideways did. This may be because the brands and types of wines in the book/movie were specifically selected, and they were treated as characters in that movie so that their particular traits could be juxtaposed against those of the human characters.

As far as other specific wines that have been pimped in movies/books, the only one I can think of offhand is Château d'Yquem, which was repeatedly mentioned as one of Hannibal Lecter's favorites (in the books), as well as in the more recent movie Ocean's 13, in the scene where Matt Damon is seducing the "cougar." But I don't think that was to drive up sales... Château d'Yquem probably doesn't need advertising and sells off all their stock regardless.

If we're talking about driving sales, here's a clip from an old Bloomberg article:
Consider the appearance earlier this year of Kendall- Jackson Vintner's Reserve cabernet in the opening scene of a TV episode of ``The New Adventures of Old Christine.' Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus pulls out a bottle hidden under her bathrobe, announces she's keeping ``Mr. Kendall Jackson' company tonight and takes the bottle into her bedroom.

``I nearly fell out of my chair,' recalls George Rose, head of public relations for the giant California winery, who was watching the show. He says L.A. product-placement agencies call regularly, pitching a $100,000 budget to place the brand, but this, he reports gleefully, ``cost us nothing.'

For tiny brands, the results can be big. When Demi Moore seduced Michael Douglas with a Napa Valley cult chardonnay, 1991 Pahlmeyer, in the 1994 thriller ``Disclosure,' owner Jayson Pahlmeyer was inundated. ``I could have sold 400,000 bottles,' he says, ``but I only made 400 cases.' Pahlmeyer provided two free cases to the film and paid no fee.

Product Placement

Usually, though, an ``integrated entertainment marketing' agency is the go-between. Six years ago, Napa Valley's Clos du Val was the first small winery to pursue on-screen product placement, and it paid an agency, Set Resources of Culver City, California, a $5,000 monthly retainer. Soon after, James Gandolfini was pouring Clos du Val on ``The Sopranos.' Since late 2005, the wines have appeared in 25 TV shows and nine films, including recent figure-skating comedy ``Blades of Glory.'

Clos du Val's distinctive terra-cotta-colored label is easy to identify on the screen, where instant recognition is essential. Champagne Mumm's Cordon Rouge, with its red sash on the label, has a long movie history -- from the Bogart and Bergman scene in ``Casablanca' (where he says ``Here's looking at you, kid') to the more recent ``Pearl Harbor' and ``A Beautiful Mind.'
posted by krippledkonscious at 5:33 PM on September 4, 2007

ET and Reese's Pieces?
posted by mattbucher at 7:11 PM on September 4, 2007

The local Costco had a case of Cheval Blanc prominently displayed a year or two ago....I've assumed it's because of "Sideways". (It wasn't the '61, of course.)
posted by gimonca at 5:25 AM on September 5, 2007

after pulp fiction was released, i knew many people who chose not to 'dig on swine' anymore. bacon and pork chop sales seemed to be unaffected on a national level though.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:14 AM on September 5, 2007

(I)f the net outcome is that people have simply traded in bad merlot for a growing sea of bad pinot noir, that’s not such a good thing. On the other hand, if the merlot retreat causes growers and producers to reassess what they were doing and to start making better wines at all levels, I call that an excellent thing.

I just talked to a wine merchant yesterday who said that that movie had ruined pinot noir: "When demand triples all of a sudden, prices rise and quality drops." In the end there will presumably be more decent pinot noir, because they've been planting scads of it, but for the time being it's probably better to drink shiraz or malbec.

As for the (excellent) question, I agree with brautigan: look into the influence of the Bond movies on drinking habits.
posted by languagehat at 7:16 AM on September 5, 2007

There are still some dang good $40-and-up pinots coming out of Oregon, languagehat.

I'm not sure if there was ever a particularly good inexpensive pinot noir.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:33 AM on September 5, 2007

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