Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sideways and Wall Street

Constellation, the only remaining publicly-traded US wine company (of any signifacance) managed to get on the Pinot/Sideways bandwagon, despite having virtually no Pinot brands that are "Sideways worthy" (they're selling Byron, the only contender). They use Blackstone instead (one of Constellation's largest brands), although oddly, they credit Dennis Hill as a Blackstone winemaker but get no mention of Constellation anywhere in the interview.

Blackstone seems an odd choice given that their Pinot program is relatively new and mostly unsuccessful compared to their MERLOT sales! Blackstone is to Merlot what Kendall-Jackson is to Chardonnay and what Ravenswood is to Zinfandel. Seems an odd choice to interview a winemaker who makes nearly 1,000,000 cases of Merlot about his Pinot Noir program that makes only 16,000 cases.

Bottom line, will Sideways do for Pinot what "60 Minutes" did for premium red wine? While I think the attention is great, I predict it will be short-lived (on a broader scale) as consumers find many of the mediocre Pinots out there and give up on the fickle varietal rather than investing some time to find quality, consistent producers. A shame really.


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