If you're a woman and you love wine, then you must be a complete idiot.
That's the only logical conclusion we were able to draw after stumbling upon a slew of borderline misogynistic marketing ploys to influence our (since we are most assuredly a "she") wine-purchasing decisions. With some research claiming that women are responsible for 80 percent of the wine purchased for home consumption, it's no wonder that some brands will push any crazy "girlie" wine idea they can dream up in order to get their hands into our wine kitty. We can certainly appreciate that there is some subset of our demographic that is seeking -- to put it nicely -- "softer" messaging about wine, which for too long has been largely targeted to men. But on behalf of our wine-loving gender, we simply must call bullshit on these overly sexist and, in one case, downright misleading wine-marketing concepts. Turn the page for three marketing ploys so egregious, we had to say "WTF!?"
Wine In a
Box Purse: Does any winemaker seriously believe women are so vapid that they'd like to treat their wine as a fashion accessory? Apparently the folks behind Volére Wine Couture think just that. Frankly, we find ourselves feeling less than enthusiastic about a wine producer whose website lists its wine's "fashion forward design" as a primary descriptor. Lucky women can choose between three equally stylish varieties of purses -- a pinot grigio, a merlot or a rosé -- to take to their next jewelry party or scrapbooking session, since the purse is (surprise!) actually a resealable 1.5 liter box. Actually, that may be the only thing we like about these wines, since we favor eco-friendly options -- just not the kind that make us look and feel like a kid playing dress up. They Cannot Be Serious: Finally! Wine-loving women around the world can breathe a sigh of relief, because someone was smart enough to develop a set of wines designed specifically to suit a woman's "ever-changing world" and "pair with our personalities." But wait, it gets better. According to the thoughtful cats behind Be. Wines, there's always a perfect bottle to go along with a wide array of fashion and activity choices. And since we women are such fey, fickle creatures, the brand has come up with four wines to address our unique, ever-changing natures: There's Be. Fresh, a chardonnay that's "an ode to serendipity"; Be. Flirty, a pink moscato, a wine "inspired by a perfect blend of confidence and playfulness with a delightful finish of fun"; Be. Bright, a pinot grigio "full of light and lovely whimsical wisdom complemented by the perfect touch of unforgettable charm"; and Be. Radiant, a riesling with flavors that "linger like that perfect evening that still floods your daydreams with sly smiles." And that's not all. The oh-so-clever pairing utility allows us to pick the two -- um, accessories? -- that best align with our mood, which in turn will help us decide which wine to drink. Choose "stiletto" and "cookie" (because we're always rocking sky-high heels while nibbling delicately on macarons), and you discover that the ideal wine to sip on just such an occasion is the flirty-licious moscato. If you're the kind of girl who's more the "tambourine" and "lasso" type, the genius recommendation is riesling. Skinnygirls Do [Bad] Wine: This particular wine marketing ploy pissed us off even more than the others, because it preys on misleading information and perpetuates ridiculous stereotypes. Real Housewives of New York City alum Bethenny Frankel made so much money with her line of lower-calorie Skinnygirl margaritas and pre-mixed cocktails that she figured she might as well make a product play for the woman who both loves wine and worries about her weight. Thanks to her, we now have three "guilt-free" Skinnygirl Blends: a California red, a California white and a California rosé. The company's website proclaims that the "smooth and grounded" red delivers "all of the good parts of a breakup -- chocolate, berries, caramel and crème brulee," with "none of the bad (puffy eyes and extra calories)." Wow. We're offended just reading that sentence. The worst part of this pandering, though, is the claim that the wines are "amazingly" low-calorie, attempting to assuage our fears of weight gain by assuring us that each five-ounce glass of Skinnygirl wine contains just 100 calories...which is such a ginormous savings over the typical 110 to 125 calories we might rack up drinking a non-Skinnygirl wine. But after sipping one of these severely flavor-challenged offerings, we are more than willing to spend an extra three minutes on the treadmill to make up the difference.
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