Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Gallo Winery Peddles Plonk Through PR


DonRocks
 Share

Recommended Posts

Rocks, This is just business as usual. Does this frighten you? Go Global or die is the business mantra these days. I can't wait to taste Chateau Lafite-Rothschild-Gallo in 2020.

Doesn't frighten me, but I'd sure like to do my part to expose it to everyone for the B.S. marketing ploy that it is.

It's business as usual for people that don't care.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife and I stumbled across this stuff in a recent trip to the corner grocer and she tried the chardonnay and I had the syrah, purely on the basis of the lable. I know, but believe me, we've tried everything in that store, so why not? She actually thought the chardonnay was pretty good for what we call "swilling wine." I thought the syrah was closed and forgettable but, when cleaning the kitchen hours later, the last glass from the bottom of the bottle seemed to have opened up into something perfectly acceptable, even pretty good, for an under-$10 bottle of wine.

Despite the off-putting bullshit offered up by the Gallo release -- "a fun and approachable alternative to stodgy French wines" -- those of us who have watched the price of everyday wines from France, Italy and the US double over the last few years (remember $8.99 cru bougeois Bordeau? $7.99 DOC Chianti?) are happy enough to see any new choices show up on the shelves, even if it does come from the Death Star of winemakes. Who knows, even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Nancy! Welcome to eGullet! Good to see you here... :smile:

Don, I'm not sure I understand your outrage. How long did we think it would take before the French caught on to the piles of money to be made from oceans of mediocre wine that's well packaged, "value" priced and really well marketed? Does anyone think that Arbor Mist or Woodbridge would sell without TV ads and full page magazine ads? Even if the French didn't catch on themselves, some marketing executive was sure to pitch this idea to them sooner or later.

Business as usual. And if there weren't any mediocre wine that came with training wheels on it, there'd be no future consumers to educate about the better stuff. I know of no one that starts their wine tasting with Premier cru. Does "lifestyle wine" suck? Sure it does. Does it serve a purpose? You betcha.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Katie on this. In cultures where wine has not been considered a regular part of the meal, there is that mystique surrounding wine - it's for elitists, only for special occasions, it involves arcane terms that need to be studied to be understood, etc.

So what's wrong with wine being marketed as a fun, everyday foodstuff? Hopefully it will create those future wine drinkers, and they can step up later to other, more complex wines. I have plenty of chateau-print unexciting French labels in my basement (right beside those equally uninspiring German ones), but am as visually attracted to interesting labels as the next person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a little perplexed too. Did they mistreat you in some way? :unsure:

Katie, I agree, this is business as usual. Expansion is part of any successful business in any industry.

At least it doesn't have Jerry Lewis on the label.

Sort of off topic, but why are people drawn to wines with animals on the label?

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 2 cents,

I used to "bash" Gallo for making nothing but an ocean of swill. (Gallo even tried to get me FIRED from my job for saying so publicly - it didn't work.). To be fair, they still make an ocean of swill, BUT, and this is a MAJOR "BUT", they are now making a LOT of well crafted, varietally correct, pleasant wines at a reasonable price. The entire Gallo of Sonoma line of wines are excellent quality wines for under $10. Rancho Zabaco Zins are great values. There is a place in this world, a valuable one, for what I like to call "Tuesday night Pizza wines"...

This must be given to their credit.

As for marketing, every winery has to market its product. There are SO many examples of 'stealth labels' out there (ones where the average consumer wouldn't know were by the same company). And frankly, I think marketing designed to attract NEW wine drinkers is only a good thing, even if the wine is crap. It is my experience that alot of the new wine drinkers palates "grow up" and they want to branch out to better wine. (Who out there here used to drink only white zin or Blue Nun in college?? Hands up please and no cheating).

I don't thing Gallo deserves this bashing here.

cheers,

Rob

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for marketing, every winery has to market its product. There are SO many examples of 'stealth labels' out there (ones where the average consumer wouldn't know were by the same company). 

Good point -- before this week's tremendous news, who else knew that Woodbridge was a Mondavi product???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good point -- before this week's tremendous news, who else knew that Woodbridge was a Mondavi product???

Actually, I did. but then Im certainly NOT an "average consumer" :biggrin:

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doesn't the label say "Woodbridge, by Robert Mondavi?"

Yep, and is advertised as such on TV.

To return to the topic at hand, the Bee had a much better article describing the precise manner in which the consumer is being played like a fiddle:

http://www.modbee.com/business/story/9127820p-10027206c.html

Each wine style is then mapped for different characteristics ? acidity, oak, body, palate, finish. ?Every possible description to pass on to the winemaker,? Douglas said.

Then consumers are brought in from around the country to taste five wines a night, and rate them on a scale of one to nine, with nine being the highest possible score, Glasgow said.

?We end up with consumer likability scores,? Glasgow said, across many demographics ? age, income, level of wine sophistication.

Those scores are combined with the sensory panel information to make a three-dimensional map of how the various styles match up with consumer preferences.

Yeek.

Walt

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Walt:

And this procedure surprises you because.... :huh:

The fact that their very rating system is geared to the lowest common denominator (or the denominator that's determined by committee of "tasters") make absolutely perfect sense given what they're trying to accomplish.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are SO many examples of 'stealth labels' out there (ones where the average consumer wouldn't know were by the same company).

Turning Leaf, for example, which is also a Gallo product. There is no mention of Gallo anywhere on the bottle or the Turning Leaf website. Like you say, it's a nice, consistent, and affordably priced, if somewhat dull product. The packaging is attractive, and people can try it with confidence and without denting their budget.

Here's a link to the 1997 hoopla lawsuit between KJ and Gallo over it. Even the Mondavis got sucked in. :rolleyes:

_____________________

Mary Baker

Solid Communications

Find me on Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fired up with the spirit of scientific endeavor, Mrs. busboy and I picked up a bottle of Red Bicyclette (shouldn't that be Bicyclette Rouge?) Syrah and one of the Chardonnay, vowing to pay attention to the taste this time, rather then knocking the stuff back while hunting in vain for a chicken wings place that delivers to Mt. Pleasant.

Let me begin by saying that if there is a $7.99 bottle of wine, either red or white, of any varietel, made in America that is worth drinking, I have never had it.

So, for comparison purposes we picked a Finca Natalina Malbec from Argentina -- comparing other $7.99 options, rather than mounting a semi-surreal under-$8.99 vertical syrah tasting -- and the Concho y Tora Chilean bulk chardonnay.

We got out the good glasses, opened both bottles of red, and did a preliminary comparison during The Dailey Show, and the Red Bicyclette showed well almost from the get-go (I know, contrary to my memory of an earlier bottle). A little body, decent fruit and that nice earthy syrah kick at the finish. The Malbec, on the other hand, seemed thin and unpleasant: sunburnt, tobacco-y, and more tannin than fruit, though very little of either. In fact, it tasted a lot like a cheap, watery Languedoc syrah.

Then we let the wines sit open for about an hour while we dashed out to Vace for a pizza and a copy of The Hudsucker Proxy which -- though it faded at the end like a cheap pseudo-French "lifestyle wine" (more anon) proved that the Coen Brothers are definitely not longer at the top of their game.

Time was good to the Malbec. The tannin and tobacco held firm but, as the fruit bloomed, turned into talented supporting players behind a nice and gave the vino the strength to stand up to the pizza. Time was bad to the Syrah, however, as the fruit fled leaving the same burnt dregs as the Malbe offered up in the beginning. Not actively unpleasant, but passively so.

Either bottle would be better than the 85% of the "red wines" I've bought by the glass at bars and restaurants in the United States.

The treat of the night was the Red Bicyclette Chardonnay. But let me begin by dismissing the Concho y Toro as virtually undrinkable, though I have many friends and one wife facing high tuition payments and other child-rearing expenses who make do with it. I can't even describe the taste, though if you've had any bulk chardonnay recently -- including the Woodbridge -- you kind of know what I'm talking about.

The White Bicyclette, however, was a pleasant surprise. It has a real Chard taste and mouthfeel and actual layers of flavor. There's a little tart/lemon thing going on at the beginning and it closes with a bit of oak, but not that "licking the barrel (woodchips, actually)" level that a lot of winemakers affect in order to appear swank. It's light, it's clean, it has a little bit of character and I can't think of another inexpensive chard I'd rather have, even the reliably good stuff the Aussies (think Rosemount) put out.

Bottom line: eminently drinkable plonk, and a credible contribution to the low-end market. Not a crime against nature.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd certainly read it and contribute. I wonder if there's a way, in the new format, to collect and arrange contributions so that if we get to a reasonable number of posts, we could make it easier to flip through, looking for ideas.

Also, if any DC folks are reading this, doing a group tasting of under $10 wines on a crisp autumn afternoon would not be a wate of time. And I can prove to Malawry that brined chicken is unnatural and wrong. :laugh:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that would be a real public service to those of us facing the aforementioned "high tuition payments and other child-rearing expenses."

Also, if any DC folks are reading this, doing a group tasting of under $10 wines on a crisp autumn afternoon would not be a waste of time.  And I can prove to Malawry that brined chicken is unnatural and wrong. :laugh:

Well, set something up. We have at least another month of decent outdoor weather. :cool:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Either bottle would be better than the 85% of the "red wines" I've bought by the glass at bars and restaurants in the United States...  

But let me begin by dismissing the Concho y Toro as virtually undrinkable... It has a real Chard taste and mouthfeel and actual layers of flavor... Not a crime against nature.

Busboy,

What a great posting this was. It was substantive, a joy to read, and a great job of capturing a moment in time that would have otherwise been lost forever.

Putting on my contra-cap, what does "better" mean? Tastes better? Not to me. I submit that the wines you had did not taste better alongside that pizza than a Coke on ice would have.

Before anyone starts lambasting me, think about this, no, really, actaully think about this question before cutting my head off...

no, really, think about this...

what actually TASTES better with a greasy pizza, a glass of cheap wine, or a glass of Coke?

This thread isn't so much a slap against Red Bicyclette, or even Gallo, or McDonald's; it's a continuation of my hatred of mass-produced food, of anything having a taste that can be fabricated, replicated in response to a marketing poll, or manufactured in a chemical lab.

Here is where I stand on this issue.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends. If we're having Marv's pizza with extra cheese, extra sauce, it would be beer. If we're having one of Dover Dan's homemade pizzas with fluffy, fresh bread machine dough, a cheese-stuffed crust, sundried tomatoes and other goodies, definitely wine!

_____________________

Mary Baker

Solid Communications

Find me on Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No question for me...Wine with pizza. I do not drink Coke with meals, ever. WAY too sweet and all the sugar kills the tastebuds (and I prefer the diet Coke anyway....) Now, if there is inferior wine only available with the pizza, then yes. beer.

Now, re read this quote from Rocks, emphasis added:

what actually TASTES better with a greasy pizza, a glass of cheap wine, or a glass of Coke?

This thread isn't so much a slap against Red Bicyclette, or even Gallo, or McDonald's; it's a continuation of my hatred of mass-produced food, of anything having a taste that can be fabricated, replicated in response to a marketing poll, or manufactured in a chemical lab.

Now, isn't COKE itself the quintessential mass produced, fabricated, replicated in response to marketing, over advertised, manufactured in a chemical lab product on the PLANET???

am I the only one smelling some hypocricy here??

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...