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Bay Vieux Briefs


Wednesday Trifecta


Our neoprohibitionist friends at The Marin Institute are at it again. I mentioned these anti-alcohol crusaders last week, after they freaked out about funny whiskey ads on buses. Now, they’re carrying the battle to social media (and the young people who hang out there). The latest is what they call “the country’s first anti-beer ad contest.” Marin Institute is calling for “youth from 13 to 20” to create “original anti-beer ads of 30 to 60 seconds…”. The campaign is dubbed Free the Bowl, as in Super Bowl. Seems the beer ads on America’s favorite televised sporting event of the year are offensive to the Institute’s Board of Directors, and they’re out there recruiting impressionable young people to their cause. First prize for the lucky young videographer: “a brand new 13” Apple Macbook with Final Cut Express 4.0 software.”

Heck, if I was 18 years old and into making videos, I’d enter the damn contest myself, and if I won, I’d celebrate by drinking a bottle of Champagne.


Crushpad is a very cool place in San Francisco where, for money, you can produce your own wine, under your own label, made from grapes grown in some very good California vineyards. Now, they have a cool thing they’re calling The Wine Bailout, AKA Dude, where’s  my 401K?

Before I sound off on it, I need to get this off my chest: I HATE to give free publicity to businesses that are shamelessly angling for it. Which Crushpad is: I got a personal email from them. The gist is, you pay $39 as futures on a 2007 Napa Cabernet that will be bottled next August. Then, “If the Dow goes down, you get an economic stimulus check of $2 per bottle for every 100 point drop. If it goes up, then your 401K is looking good and the maximum of $39 is a steal for similar wines we produce that command $75+ at retail.” It’s hard to know, under these circumstances, whether to root for the Dow to go up, or down. If it falls 2,000 points, you get your wine for free (actually, Crushpad would have to pay you a dollar). If it goes up, you’re still guaranteed the 39 bucks.

It’s a cute scheme and maybe worth looking into. We’re all a little meschuggina with the markets tanking; maybe The Wine Bailout is a way to laugh through the tears.


Another interesting post from WineDiverGirl, who continues to explore the ways wineries and bloggers can work together. As readers of this space know, I was critical last month with some suggestions WDG had made, although I allowed as to how she was asking some interesting questions. Read her new post. The money line isn’t from her, but from the blogger 1WineDude [Joe Roberts], whom she quotes: Heaven knows I’ve got no problem whatsoever being courted by winemakers, PR contacts, or the wine media in general (in fact, my view is that it’s about time this has happened). The trick is maintaining the willpower to keep a unique, individual, and (hopefully) credibly opinionated voice as a blogger while the “courting” ramps up. As one who’s long used to being “courted,” I couldn’t agree more.

  1. Hi Steve,

    We only touched the tip of the iceberg of being courted at the Credibility seminar at the WBC, but this ties in directly with a critical part of that discussion.

    An average blogger who makes wine reviews a regular part of their blog’s content is not likely to be prepared to pay out of pocket for every single wine they review.

    So it is only realistic to expect that they may come to depend on samples as a steady stream of “content fodder”.

    There is nothing wrong with this – as long as one is clear (and honest with themselves) about being impartial and independent in the opinion on the wines they are asked to assess.

  2. Morton Leslie says:

    Someone should point out the possibility that wine futures present an easy way to get capital after the bank refuses you more credit. Holders of futures might find themselves at the end of the line of a lot of secured and unsecured creditors and never see their wine or their money. Wine futures make no sense in a recession. Rather than pay $39 for the possibility of getting wine down the line, a better strategy is to buy a $20 bottle and drink it tonight.

    Regarding bloggers who are interested in seeing how they can work with producers in a “symbiotic” way and maybe make a little green…maybe they can get ideas…maybe learn some creative new techniques from Illinois Gov. Blagojevich.

  3. Steve, your (and WDG’s) mention of my willingness to receive sample has coincided with a previously unprecedented (for me, anyway) amount of wine samples being offered to me.

    Is there any chance that you could mention this every other week for the next 6 months as well? (kidding…)


  4. Joe, be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Can you imagine yourself getting more samples than you can handle? Welcome to my world.

  5. In the words of Han Solo, “I dunno, I can imagine quite a bit…”

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