By Joel Quigley, VP of Marketing Communications
Beyond becoming VP of Marketing Communications for The Good Life Wine Collective, one of the most exciting and impactful events in my 25 year career in the wonderful world of wine was when I was the food and wine media project leader for Fox Searchlight Pictures’ movie Sideways.
At the time I was working for a communications firm following a ten-year stint as Executive Director of a national non-profit wine education and marketing organization focused on demystifying wine for young adults. The core of our strategy was to bring wine to American popular culture via partnerships and events with the music, fashion, arts and film industries.
At Fox Searchlight, they had no real connections within the food and wine media and had no idea on how to effectively reach wine consumers. They found me through a mutual movie industry marketer, and due to our firm’s reputation and my experience and network, a deal was struck to manage exclusive invites to the food and wine media and wine consumers to 18 sneak previews with post-screening Pinot Noir tasting across the country. [The campaign was very successful with extensive food and wine media coverage and viral word-of-mouth raves that helped fill theaters.]
The Sideways Effect & The Cutting Room Floor
When we first read the script in advance of the deal, our firm thought, wow, this could blow up Pinot Noir sales in the States. It did. We had no anticipation that Sideways would be blamed for tanking Merlot sales. Why?
It’s simple: the cutting room floor. Miles didn’t actually hate Merlot; he loved it. However, it was the favorite varietal of his ex-wife. He refused to drink it because of the bitter memories of love lost and divorce. If you remember, Miles’s prized bottle of wine that he drinks alone at the end of the film is one of the world’s great wines, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc, which is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The section of the script that clarified all this never made the film.
Why Cool-Climate Merlot Matters
And this brings us to our Humanitas 2012 ‘Truchard Vineyard’ Merlot grown in the cool-climate of Los Carneros. Well before Sideways, the script was already being written for the takedown of Merlot’s reputation. The varietal had become a favorite of Americans, so grape growers feverishly grafted over vineyards to the grape, including in the hot Central Valley of California. No bueno! Merlot needs a long cool growing season to reach perfection. Millions of bottles of hot-climate Merlot reached grocery store shelves that lacked the true quality and character of the grape.
Critics pounced, consumers curled their noses, and then Sideways coincidentally hit with an unintended consequence due to an editing decision. That’s wow!
We Invite You to Rekindle Your Love Affaire with Merlot While Sharing this Story
Now that the insider facts facts been revealed, we invite you to join Miles in his true love of Merlot without his lost love baggage and evangelize for this noble grape. Our 2012 ‘Truchard Vineyard’ Merlot is a complexly layered, stunning representation of what classic Merlot is meant to be: soft, sweet, juicy aromas of blueberry, pepper and fig bounding from the glass while making way for soft black cherry, tobacco leaf and cola on the palate.
Our 2012 ‘Truchard Vineyard’ Merlot is offered at $50.00 per bottle. For those who order 6 bottles or more, we’re offering $20 flat shipping or shipping included on a case or more in most states!
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