This is a nice little video put together by the Washington Wine Commission. For the record, I think it is very nicely done. But I do find irony in the fact that the narrator says our region is more than clichés, but continues on to speak in nothing but clichés for the remaining two minutes of the video.
It says a lot about our fledgling wine region that we are able to compete in a world market against established regions and mega-wineries. Organizations like the Washington Wine Commission have played a significant tole in making that happen.
It is very difficult to market wine without at least dipping a toe into the cliché pool. Wine quality is an incredibly subjective measure. Some people like to use points/scoring. Others like to tout medals or competitions won. Still others sidestep external validation altogether and leave it up to individual preference. But unless you've got an attention span of over an hour and I've got a half dozen bottles open to show you, it's almost impossible to convey the "what/when/how/why" of any wine region without using verbiage that is cliché in origin or execution. Which is why I would not want the job of writing copy for a two-minute video tasked with extolling the virtues of Washington wine.
Let's try to answer some common questions with answers that are 10 seconds or less. Out in the world of marketing, 10 seconds of a consumers' attention span is a luxury.
Q: "Why is Washington a good place for wine?"
A: Our soils were brought in by a giant flood and we get a lot of sunlight. (cliché)
Q: "Red Mountain wines seem more expensive than others from Washington. Why?"
A: It's a small growing area and the grapes are in high demand, which makes the grapes more expensive. (non-answer/cliché)
Q: "But why is Red Mountain better?"
A. See answer #1
Q: "What are you known for?"
A: "Our region produces world-class Cabernet Sauvignons that exhibit high acidity, excellent flavor, and stout tannins. (cliché and super boring)
Q: "Says who?"
A: The people that live/work here and lots of wine experts. (who cares?)
So how does one sell wine? I suppose if I knew the answer I'd be on a boat somewhere in the San Juans. As the video intuits, a significant portion has to be story. If you're reading this blog, hopefully you know our story, and hopefully you find it compelling.
Want to buy some wine? We've got magic dirt.