I couldn’t help but hear a brief conversation in the checkout area of The Store the other day that is so very revealing of the twisted, illogical logic (?) that is so pervasive in the wine world. And, it is a thought process the marketers and promoters love. A well dressed, business-woman looking, fiftyish lady was about to buy an Italian Pinot Grigio from some label I am unfamiliar with. When the bottle was scanned by the cashier she said, in an alarmed voice, “How much?” “$7.99”, the clerk replied. “Is there a discrepancy?” Naturally, he thought she was expecting the price to be less, and it came up too high. “Oh my no, I’m meeting some friends for dinner and can’t take an eight dollar bottle of wine. I’m putting this back”. By the time the clerk had voided the sale and took the next customer, she was back in line. This time with a different Italian Pinot Grigio that rang up $15.99. She was much happier.
Somehow or other, either through labeling, or appearance, or a name that sounded haughty enough she had chosen the first bottle, but apparently misread the price tag on the shelf. But, after learning the price, obviously feared it would either be undrinkable or make the wrong impression. If it’s the former—fear of the undrinkable—the assumed direct relationship between price and enjoyment, that is the very fallacy I would like to dispel. If it’s the latter—then she needs new friends. Was she planning to say, “Here’s the wine I paid sixteen dollars for”, to earn the approval of her dinner companions? Those are folks I’d like to meet for dinner with a five dollar bottle and say “Here’s the wine I paid $25 dollars for because I’m as sophisticated and able to afford it as you.” And I bet, if I took the right five dollar bottle, none of them would know the difference.
After her checkout line panic attack, I made my purchase of 12 bottles, some of them the big ones, for about $65. I’m not trying to impress anyone, especially snooty dinner guests, except those who will note and enjoy with me how good a five or six, or even a $7.99 wine can be.