Monday, October 02, 2006

Fosters finds its Ingleniche

In the industry's latest bit of "Inglenooking", Foster's has recently announced that its Lindemann brand (acquired last year from Southcorp) will now be a globally-sourced product with new wines being released from South Africa and Chile. Lindemans was once one of the best-known, and most successful brands to come out of Australia. Before the virtual collapse of Southcorp and the introduction of Yellow Tail, it was the leading brand from down under.

I'm just shaking me head over this one. Either Lindemann's has been so ruined by Southcorp and competition from Yellow Tail and Black Swan that it no longer represents even "Brand Australia" or Foster's really believes that wine is so global that a brand that stands for "good wine" can be made anywhere from anything. By their thinking, Lindemans is now such a generic name that it can be put on wine from any source as long as it keeps the same "style".

One wonders where a wine shop or supermarket puts such wines? Do you have to stack them all together on the floor (expensive real estate) or do you dilute them by putting them in their respective country of origin? Does the addition of South African Chenin Blanc bump an Australian Merlot off the shelf?

I'm thinking that this idea was launched by somebody from the beer side of the company. After all, if beer can be made anywhere, why can't wine? I'm sure that the "powers that were" at Heublein thought roughly the same when they expanded Inglenook to central-California sourcing. Good wine is good wine at any price point, they must have thought. A quick trip to the discount liquor store on the corner will tell you what happened to Inglenook, the fate of Lindemans is yet to be determined.


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