March 29, 2006
Men and Wine Do Not Mix
California winemakers – sorry, vintners – are becoming concerned
that very manly men (this column will not use the word that rhymes with
“nacho”) do not find their product to be very manly.
be because, oh, let me see, it’s not. Wine? Wine is like a doily,
which is simply not a respectable item on which to place your beverage –
even if you accept the premise that condensation rings on the table are
worth worrying about.
like the word “splendid.” It is a word no man should ever say – not that
I am that enslaved by the rules of manliness. I express emotion and
junk. I am very bad at car repair. I cook. But I’m enough of a real man
to know that if I ever allowed the word “splendid” to pass through my
lips, it would be a slippery slope to humming show tunes and watching
wine is like. It’s just not something men should associate themselves
not what the vintners want to hear. Ray’s Station Vineyards of Sonoma
County, worried that women aren’t buying enough wine to keep their bare
toes awash in grape squirtings, is trying to broaden its market by
introducing Hearty Red Wines for Men.
– that’s hearty. Wine? Wine is elegant. No man wants anything
elegant. (See: Use of the word “splendid.”)
Station has the answer for that. It is going to put a stallion on the
bottle! That’ll make it seem masculine! That’s a male horse, after all.
Male in a Fabio sort of way, but cut these wine people some slack. They
don’t know very much about men, so I suppose they could have done worse
than a stallion. I would have expected something more like a show dog.
In that respect, they exceeded my expectations.
why not put a race car on the wine? Or better yet, put your wine on a
race car. That’s what a rival Sonoma County winery by the name of
Ravenswood has done – sponsoring the No. 27 Brewco Motorsports car in
this year’s NASCAR Busch Series.
makes white zinfandel – a lovely wine. A splendid, elegant wine. Sense
the aroma. Note how it tickles your palate and dances on your tongue
like Rudolph Nureyev in Swan Lake. See it roar around the track at
buying this? Me neither. But Brian Hilliard, who is in charge of
marketing for Ray’s Station, has made up his mind that vee vill drink
it and vee vill like it! Hilliard tells the Associated Press: “These
guys, they're married; they've got a couple of kids. Wine is part of
their lives, but it's not integrated in a way that they really force
themselves to be knowledgeable."
being knowledgeable about wine is very important in the world of Mr.
Hilliard and his friends. I’m sure they read labels and discuss
fermentation trends endlessly, or at least until 6:30 when it’s time to
leave for French cuisine and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.
men do not trouble themselves with such nuance. I have no idea what’s in
my Diet Coke, beyond brown stuff and bubbles. I am not knowledgeable
about what anyone put in my fried chicken, my spaghetti sauce or my
sausage. As long as it’s not anthrax, I don’t need the details.
And this is
the problem here. Trying to make men like wine is like trying to make
cats like vacuum cleaners. Wine is a handbag. Wine is poetry. It’s
quilting, scrapbooking and getting a manicure. Putting a bottle of wine
on a race car is only going to get the driver sideswiped coming into Lap
4. Putting a stallion on a bottle of wine is only going to make a man
think to himself, “She ran calling Wildfire!”
won’t like that, so he’ll put on some Tom Petty.
vintners were smart, they would understand that there are men who
will drink their wine. And they aren’t watching NASCAR. They’re out
right now at the poetry reading at the Ladies’ Literary Society, and all
you need to do to sell them is make a bottle that fits in their
As for the
rest of us, don’t bother. We’re not interested, not even if you put
stuff about hunting in your ads. In fact, Dick Cheney knows where you
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