Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Inglenooking" revisited...

I have been doing far too much traveling for brand promotion and sales these past few months. Sales are finally starting to creep upwards again though, so hopefully the recession is on the way out.
Anyway, I was looking through a list of "Top Wines form Argentina" while on a flight back to California, and was somewhat amused to see Inglenook as the #3 brand (Chablis, same wine is in the #13 spot as well).
Inglenook? Really??
I had lost track of that brand a few years back when it was still low-end California bulk wine. Anyway it still shows up in the #10 spot (for Burgundy), #15 (Chianti Classico), and finally in the #20 spot (Rhine). Not bad to have your brand in 4 of the top 25 positions....but even so, it is still extremely sad when you remember the rich heritage of the Inglenook name.
Inglenooking is a term used within the industry referring to a high-end brand which is then shifted down-market to capitalize on the previous successes. In the case of Inglenook, it was once the highest end Cab from Napa Valley, with the 1941 Inglenook Napa Cab having a perfect 100 score retrospectively bestowed upon it by the Wine Spectator. Bottles of that vintage can still fetch almost $25,000 each. (Yeah, that's right...$25k for each bottle!)
Now THAT's a brand....top of the Napa wine heap....or at least it was for a while....
It was relegated to California plonk as the brand was expanded and moved in larger format bottlings onto the lower shelves of the supermarket displays. Now it seems to have been further globalized by its corporate handlers...

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