It seems that Gallo is looking to spread the American way of marketing (i.e. brilliant, targeted, and deep understanding of the customer) to France. I have written multiple times about France’s troubles not being wine-based but actually being market based (way back in August, twice) and it seems that, like a good, well-heeled American business, Gallo is seizing the opportunity and removing the “frenchy-ness” from French wine.
Hugh Johnson’s got balls (I couldn’t resist) enough to wonder if Gallo is reading his blog. He made an entry with a different slant from ours (which I just read, we took more of a marketing analysis view of this…with a bit of irritation). While the arrogance of the French can get on my nerves, Hugh pretty much goes off (its a good read, you should take a look). Whether they are or aren’t reading Blogs, it was only a matter of time before the marketing engine that is the American Wine Industry siezed this opportunity.
There is a flaw, however. While I believe there is extreme validity and business opportunity in de-mystifying French wine labels (and some effort is under way in the French regulating bodies to do this themselves), Gallo appears intent on Americanizing (or “New World”-izing) the wine itself. That goes a bit too far. The fact that wine has character depending on where its from is part of the experience, part of the Wine Life. Yes, French wine names are out-of-control bad and that is starting to manifest itself in the form of slow worldwide adoption of French wine but changing the taste of the French product shouldn’t be the goal. In our last posting on the trouble with French wine, we wanted to point out the fact that the brilliance of New World wine is a basic understanding of what you’re going to get (Pinot, Cab, Merlot…) leads to comfort in ordering, buying, drinking in public which leads to adoption. Changing the taste of the French wine to be more New World-like goes too far.