During one of my MBA classes in the US the professor wanted to convey how the messages can get distorted when passed on verbally from one to the other, underlying the importance of clear-cut communications. Perhaps, a common game that is often played among friends, we were asked to give a situation to one member of the team who would whisper to the next and so on till it got to the original sender. At times, the message got garbled while at other times, it was even contrary to what was implied.
The recent Press Release of the company was grabbed by the media as it made interesting copy- it was fresh, made from red and white grapes, it was sweet, drink it chilled, low alcohol at 11.5%, no need to feel overawed by sommeliers, grapes and appellations, grapes from best vineyards (really!!), grapes from all over Spain to avoid any confusion-all kinds of terms and words were used. Several slightly changed versions until...
Until I read a couple of Articles (actually the second one as syndicated/copied from seemingly a sister publication) that said that the blue wine was labelled BLUE NUN! That’s where I could not take it anymore. Blue Nun is a popular German wine brand of 150 years. Why would they need to collaborate with a bunch of adventurists from Spain to market their products? I checked up with A. S. Wadhwa, CEO and Executive Director of Nature’s Bounty, importer of Blue Nun for several years and he had no idea who and why anyone would say that. There was no question of that.
So much for media reporting and an extension of what my learned professor taught us in the University of Minnesota.
My mind also raced back to 2002-3 when it was introduced in India where they betted on its popularity because of the official blue outfit of the Indian cricket team. Heavy amount was spent on the publicity with the hope that the die-hard cricket fans would don the blue outfit and drink the Pepsi Blue-giving it an edge over its rival Coke. I don’t know how much was spent on the advertisements but it soon became a collector’s item.
Pepsi Blue debuted in the USA in 2002 and made a sale of 17 million cases in its maiden year, according to Beverage Digest. In 2003, however, sales trickled to just 4.9 million cases, a minuscule number in the huge U.S. soft-drink world. In 2004 it withdrew from the market. Of course there are many die-hards who even sent signed petitions to re-start it to the company as late as 2015. The official reply by the company was, ‘In the past Pepsi had distributed this flavour in many markets, but it didn’t sell so well as we had expected and we decided to discontinue it.’
GiK Wine Blue
The company GiK has made some profound statements that would make non-wine drinkers pleased and infatuated. They insist there is no extraneous material used as they describe ‘It's all set to be a delicious blend of red and white wine, with a colour that's sure to brighten up your life. The electric blue colour comes from a natural pigment extracted from grape skin, so the colour you're falling in love with isn't dye-based’. This new wine variety is as light as white wine and as sweet as red wine. This new, blue wine tastes like a sweeter version of white wine, as suggested by a media report (remember my communication skills experiment!)
Un-learn while you drink
You have to do some un-learning before you drink this wine; novices are the best targets as they are very low on the learning curve. The website advises, ‘Try to forget everything you know about wine. Try to unlearn the hundreds of protected wine designations of origin, the complex and demanding service standards and everything that the sommelier said at a tasting course to which you were invited. Forget traditions and forget that we are speaking about the liquid which represents the blood of Christ at church. What do you see? A sweet and fresh taste and the vibrant indigo colour with 11.5 degrees of alcohol! Sweet and fresh taste and the vibrant Indigo colour are the main characteristics of the drink Gïk (the word wine has been intelligently avoided).
The manufacturer (I won’t call it a producer) of this ‘concoction’ banks on the voice of the internet to market the product. According to the website, they share this creation through what they call, ‘the largest winery in the world: the internet’.
Due to innovative working structure and the flexibility allowed by the technological process which improves both the colour and the taste of the grapes, they work with various vineyards all over Spain. They carefully choose these vineyards for their grape varieties and their innovative mindset, avoiding the complexity of being governed by any dictatorial Denomination of Origin. (no clues about grapes or the vineyards- this is not relevant according to them). It’s interesting that even though they seem to be rebellious against all wine traditions, they have stuck to the traditional closure cork and not screwcaps even as they advise you to drink it young and chilled, for which screwcaps have been universally accepted as a better alternative.
According to a report, blue wine is the brainchild of six entrepreneurs working for the Spanish wine company, Gik. The innovative wine was created by blending together red and white grapes from four different parts of Spain: La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha, Leon and Zaragoza.
Although it'll take some time before this variety is available in India (it's sold in Spain only, but distribution to the US and other countries across the world will begin in the next few months), if at all, it's something for wine novices to look forward to. The importers may not have to worry about FSSAI as ‘our processes are intensely regulated and have received the approval of institutions such as the European Food Safety Authority,’ declares the website which addresses the visitor as ‘Dear Fellow Human Beings’.
After giving the anti-technical sheets and the background, the website shows the profile of the consumer of this wine- a man sitting with a glass of blue wine—with the face of a dog.
The project should also be of interest to the ‘Goan Port’ producers. They can do some quick R & D and bring out a similar ‘cheap and best’ product under the ‘Make in India’ scheme. Me? I love cricket but don’t wear the blue outfit to watch matches. I am an old conservative who loves his red, white and rose and occasionally champagne, Prosecco, Cava and other bubblies or dessert wines, but only in two colours-and there is no blue in mine. I don’t think the profile of their customer targets me, anyway.