old world wine

It is a night heaving with stars, ambulance flickers in your eyes, all the red we dream of, all the red we conceal. Dripping out through the warped ceiling, bleeding down the bark of murdered trees. Your love lingers in the room like a corpse like a sigh, and I curl up like a crescent moon, relieve my hands of this shame by stitching them to your neck. Now the shadows render us like fairytale beasts and little red riding hood is in the kitchen rearranging knives for teeth and I blossom with peculiarities. I am the percussion of a poisoned ghost, roaming these wayward streets in her sallow night gown, her sorrow a sacred dome enwreathed like a garden hedge around her. I am a nightbloomer in flames and all the chaos reconciles me the way the rain hushes the earth, the way you grasp for grapes in candle lit rooms ablaze with your name. Sometimes I don’t feel human. Sometimes I don’t feel like I belong. The world as a violin that isn’t attuned to me, the world as the actor who plays my enemy. Listen, I’ve heard of flowers burned into bridges, hearts like funeral homes that will store all your skeletons for safekeeping. I’ve heard of wolves with kind eyes and seas that speak, but these are stories of ghouls and gods, marring my skin with their speared tongues, whirling sleep. I miss who you were in the summer, fissures in your bones and fault lines in your chest, a voice like scripture and paintings of bees hung on your walls. I miss sleeping with you - playing the perpetrator of all your animal urges, how you faltered knees and rotted apples. The kisses that had me hanging by the edge of evanescence, the kisses that usurped a throne against a shameful sky and prepared a legion of rosedrunk martyrs to die in your stead. Your charred heart a black beach that we all live in, your words like halos in the sparkling autumn air, unforgiving as death and just as beautiful. You, the tsunami, you the bullet, you the shattered axis at the tipping point of my rabid world. We are winged creatures, osculatory blips on the crow’s nest of entropy, carnage in the caustic crumbs we leave behind, song sheets in our sternums. We whisper now of old worlds and spirit wine, of galaxies that fall for the twist of a woman’s hip, of cities burning for less than love. Of all the tragedies that were and all the tragedies that will be. Of the tragedy that is your soul, that in hindsight, is mine. Finally, I turn to you, blood brimming from my lips and desire spoiling my lungs. Find me in the ruins, in weeping poetry, in a meteor shower at the end of the world.
—  And What of The Greeks? || j.r
Concha y Toro: People Get Drunk on Perception Not Reality When It Comes to Wine

I grew up in San Salvador, El Salvador and I can say this much – whenever an occasion called for a fancy bottle of wine (think high school graduation or engagement party), most people opted for a foreign brand. Why? For better or worse, the perception was that foreign wines (or more specifically, Old World wines) were far better than any “local” (e.g., Latin American or New World) alternatives. Even less expensive European wines were seen as “higher end” than almost any of their counterparts from either Central or South America. And if you’re a Chilean wine manufacturer with global ambitions like Concha y Toro––that is a problem for you, because when it comes to wine––people drink perception, not reality.  The Berlin Tasting is an example of this –  “blinded” consumers actually picked Chilean wines as the best based on quality – however, if “not blinded”, consumers would typically pick the more traditional French, Italian or Spanish wines as the best based on perception or “common knowledge.”

To this end, the “Made in” label is of utmost importance for wine consumers––as people associate brands with different growing regions (Bordeaux, Chianti, Napa, e.g.) and different quality.  On one extreme, European wines were considered the best, but Chilean and South African ones were considered up and coming, but of lesser quality. This is important for Chinese consumers who drink wine as a social and affluence statement.  Chilean wines are known for being “good value for money”, so Concha y Toro faced an uphill battle when trying to penetrate the Chinese and perhaps other international markets that have a growing middle class hungry for brands that “speak for themselves” and are synonymous with wealth and high quality.

Given that wine means different things to different people in different countries (e.g. fun, relaxation, status, friendship), Concha y Toro’s best international strategy might be to cleanly segment the market based on perceptions.

In the U.S., where distribution is such an important driver of success (e.g. think Grupo Modelo’s Corona’s success in the U.S.), a bottoms-up approach might be the best play.  Concha y Toro could leverage its value reputation to gain clout with a consolidated distribution base with its value wines Frontera and Sunrise. More importantly, given that distributors in the U.S. often impose price discounts, Concha y Toro would not be well served if it introduced its premium wines as a first offering, as they could lose their prestige if they are placed on the discount bin too often. Beyond traditional distributors, Concha y Toro could work directly with retailers like Kroger, Whole Foods and Wegmans to position its wine offerings.  Once a solid relationship with distributors has been established, the company could introduce its higher end, higher margin wines such as Concha y Toro, and accompany the launch with an advertising campaign to change perceptions among consumers. Furthermore, having a variety of offerings (e.g. across prices and wine types) could be important as wine consumers are not considered brand loyal and often seek to gain wine knowledge by trying different variations.

In a market like China, however, where it could be more difficult to dissociate oneself from a “cheap” reputation, Concha y Toro’s best approach might be to use a “top-down” strategy. The company could introduce its finest offerings, including Casillero del Diablo, Almaviva and Marques de Casa Concha using blind-test advertising (similar to Berling tasting) and let consumers discover Concha y Toro’s wine quality for themselves.  Getting celebrity advertising on board could also be a sound strategy to associate the brand with a “premium” status. Looking for some advertisements for the brand, I found a joint commercial between Concha y Toro and Manchester United. While Manchester United is clearly European, soccer is an international sport with broad diffusion, so Concha y Toro could be trying to be “European” or of “fine taste” by association, which is clearly something that could appeal to international consumers, including the highly coveted and affluent Chinese consumer.


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Old World Wines for a BEAUTIFUL Spring Day

Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a tasting of three amazing values from across Europe. We’re talking romance languages, love stories, family values, and ancestral grapes… these wines have it all! Our friend Daniel from IPO wines will be here pouring and we’ll have bread from She Wolf and cheese from ED.

Elvio Tintero Grangia Rosato, Piemonte N/V

I always enjoy a good love story, and the one behind this delightful effervescent rosato is a gem. The estate dates back to 1900, when Frenchman Pierre Tintero travelled to Piemonte in search of employment. He got a job on a small vineyard doing odd jobs for widow Rosina Cortese who was struggling to keep things afloat solo. He quickly became an indispensable, and he and Rosina fell in love. Two years later, they married and lived happily ever after. Today, their great- grandson Marco carries on that legacy! 90% Barbera, 5% Moscato, and 5% Favorita, this pink refresher is fresh and dry with a hint of just-ripened red berry fruit, low alcohol and tiny, spritzy bubbles. Believe it or not, it’s gonna be hot soon, and this is what we’ll reach for. $15

Le Paradou Grenache, Rhone 2011

This pure, unoaked expression of Grenache is a fantastic red for this transitional time of year. Made by two handsome brothers in Luberon with estate fruit grown in accordance with the laws of Terre Vitis, an organization that ensures that properties respect the environment in which the vines are grown and stresses the benefits of integrated farming. These hard-core vineyard practices and high altitude, mountainside vineyard sites produce a vivacious and dynamic Grenache, bursting with fresh red fruit and spirited acidity. The Chaudiere brothers stress that this is a wine for sharing with family and friends, a wine for picnics and gatherings, and we couldn’t agree more. $14

Celler de Roure “Setze Gallets”, Valencia 2011

The name “Setze Gallets” translates to “16 Cookies”, which is a regional term for something that is a very good value… like this wine! Hailing from a recently revitalized 300+ year old vineyard, “Setze Gallets” is a blend of Garnacha, Merlot, Monastrell, and Mando. Here, juicy black fruit is balanced by exotic spice and a distinctive earthiness. Fire up the grill, my friends! This wine is terrific with bbq. $15

Purchased and drank this last night, Clos Des Brusquieres Chateauneuf-du-Pape but the 2010 vintage. One of my favorite bottles and makers. Delicious and Complex Southern Rhone Blend with black/red fruit characteristics and an earthy finish. Nomnomnom. Doing wine right for at least 200 years. Old World rustic and traditional the way I love my wines, and clothing lol.