Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Does the lack of HOT female winemakers hurt wine sales?

The Hottie Gap – Disparity in pulchritude among women winemakers, MWs, and tasting room staff.

Over the last several years I have noticed something interesting, that the number of female winemakers that one would consider as having a high degree of pulchritude, that is, HOTness, is rather limited. When you compare the level of hotness of female winemakers and female Master of Wine (both of them) there is a large disparity. When you throw in, so to speak, tasting room female staff* then the disparity is enormous (*summer in California, when all the female college students take jobs in winery tasting rooms).

Why? The convenient answer is that the wine industry in the US is, RELATIVELY, in its infancy, and women have yet to enter the winemaker ranks in significant numbers, so the number of Hotties would be relatively few. But what about female Masters of Wine? It seems that organization has some built in pulchritude criteria for women to be accepted, like Howard Hughes had a template for TWA stewardesses. I mean Andrea Immer is no goddess but she is much more of a babe than most female winemakers. Again, imagine Helen Turley out there trying to win new wine drinkers (ahahahaahhahahahah ooooohhhhh that's just too funny. . .or tragic, depending on how you think of it).

Should we not demand a higher level of pulchritude from female winemakers? Well, maybe not, keep them in the cellar and let the hotties do the marketing and selling. It may not make a difference in MAKING wine, but I think it certainly does make a difference in SELLING wine. As wine lovers we all do our best to spread the love of wine to others, but what about the wine industry. Women are the majority of wine buyers in the US (at least for table wine I think), so what is the wine industry doing to create a 'face' to sell to women, and women in the 21-35 demographic? What are they doing to sell to men in the 21-35 demographic?

Does the wine industry need a dynamic female to lead the marketing of wine to females in the US? YES! Does wine need the equivalent of the Swedish Bikini team, The Bud Lite Twins, etc to market wine to the male demographic in the US? YES!! Sorry to inform everyone but pulchritude SELLS.

Let's get the women out there 'moving product' and winning new wine consumers. Wine is not going to sell itself. The wine industry needs a dynamic and gratuitously hot team out there getting the 21-35 demographic EXCITED about wine. Imagine a 'Rosenblum Open House' with some babes circulating around pouring tastes, oh my, thats almost gratuitous. Oh I can hear the arguments now: But, but Huge, we can't use the tawdry tactics of the beer and liquor industry to lure in new wine drinkers (to win new wine makers the product has to be good, to LURE them past the pretensions associated with wine you need something more than WINE EDUCATION seminars). Oooohh youre right why use succesful marketing tactics for wine, its not like fermented grape juice is anything like fermented grains etc.

What we need is for a few chosen pulchritudinous wine wenches ( the term'Wine Wenches' is the sole property of Huge Johnson Enterprises LLC, and may not be used with the express permission of Huge) should do a road trip, set up a Wine Tent wherever there is a 'Stoli Tent' (have you seen the popularity of a Stolichnaya Vodka Tent, its incredible . . . and it MOVES PRODUCT!). MiniSophia's for everyone, music, merriment, that is, Wine . . .as a FUN, APPROACHABLE, EASILY CONSUMABLE. . . .BEVERAGE.

Wow, what a concept.


Blogger Enoch Choi said...

pulchritude MAY SELL
but your idea STINKS

dudes drink wine 'cause it tastes good. not for hotties.

go get some Goldshlager if you want hotties. I remember reading in the last Brown Alumni Monthly that their CEO hired babes to sell the undrinkable 120 proof plonk. it worked. ;(

January 05, 2005 10:36 PM  
Blogger VineSugar said...

Just like any other industry and product, there are varying degrees to use sex to sell. You don't see the upper-crust of bourbon and whiskey makers using sex to push product but you do see it for the larger companies that are trying to reach the masses.

One must also consider the publication or venue that using said 'hotties' at. If I'm a winery running an ad in FHM or GQ magazine for my latest wine-in-a-can product, pictures of chateaus and grapes vines isn't going to move squat! You have to relate the product to the viewer effectively. Millennials are noted for their short attention span so relating the product is KEY!

Anyone in the GenX/Millennial generation against the "tasteful" use of sex as advertising is simply a wine-snob in the making in my view. Those with problems are aspiring snob that will continue the trend in ignoring a market equal to baby-boomers with arguably greater interests to wine.

January 06, 2005 7:20 AM  
Blogger VineSugar said...

A link back:

January 06, 2005 7:54 AM  
Blogger Huge said...

Enoch: Do dudes drink Coors Light because it tastes good or because of the hotties? I mean really.....


January 06, 2005 8:51 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

I'm not sure if this is on topic or not...perhaps it is.

Back in 1991 there was a magazine called Les Amis Du Vin. It was fairly important because there was a nationwide wine club associated with it of the same name and the circulation was fairly significant.

The publisher was a guy named Ron Fonte. Ron finally gave up the ghost as circulation dwindled and closed down the magazine. The very last issue was a reflection of Ron's personality, which he gratefully kept out of the magazine prior to this last issue.

The last issue had him on the front cover. On each knee was a "hottie" in a short skirt. Ron's hand wa reaching under the skirt of one of the hotties.

It was vulger. My point though is that there are degrees of using sex to sell and it depends what you are sellilng.

I would suggest that if you are selling a wine that cost more tha $15 a bottle, something other than sex is going to sell it best. If you are selling a wine that costs $7 or less, then a little sex appeal might just do the trick. This is not a commentary on those who regularly drink $7 or less bottles of wine. Rather, it is a commentary on how to sell wine to a group of people that is far far larger and more diverse than those willing to pay $15 for a bottle of wine.

As always, Nice post, Huge.


January 07, 2005 8:32 AM  
Blogger Huge said...

I agree, Tom. I think $7-10 is a great range for the industry to look beyond conventional tie-ins. From NASCAR to Hooters, there's a gamut of untapped options that the industry habitually turns its nose up to. However, even high-end spirits ads use (much more tasteful) T&A to sell their product, I don't think we should dismiss it out of hand....


January 07, 2005 9:01 AM  
Blogger Enoch Choi said...

Huge, i'm not only against your idea 'cause of the vulgarity. It's also bad economics.

Wineries should send winebloggers and foodiebloggers their wines and hope that they talk it up. Good or bad press, still more effective in getting face time and tons cheaper than running print/TV ads of T&A.

January 07, 2005 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that getting good looking people to hawk wines is a good idea.
WineX & Wine Brats both are have the idea down.
You only have to go to a couple of tasting events (ZAP, Family Winemakers, Merlot-in-May, etc) to see plenty of Trolls who should've stayed back in the cellar.

Sure they may be the winemakers (or enologists/whatever) and can answer the tchnical questions that're put to them, but pair them up with someone who's got some "curb appeal" for crying out loud!

I think you others need to relax for a minute. It's NOT about gratuitous sex - it's about making the product & appearance attractive. There are many tasteful ways to portray attractive people & wine: Vinesugar's got a couple of them on his post.

I mean sweet-mother-of-god, I wouldn't be buying anything because Martha Stewart was standing next to it...but if it was Sandra Bullock, well...maybe I'd think about it a bit more (and at least remember it later/ a positive sense).

Thanks, Skip

January 10, 2005 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the hot MEN required to lure all those women currently *buying* the majority of wine

January 10, 2005 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story sure sounds like the Ron Fonte that I know, from the title to the picture with the two girls on his knees. Doesn't sound like he's changed a bit. Keep your sense of humor. JC

June 28, 2008 8:02 PM  
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