Critter Wine: 20makesnodifference [yellowtail] Pinot Grigio

Because it was left in my fridge after a party. I first ran into [yellowtail] just after the turn of the century. I was a sales rep for a local wine distributor and we were agog at how well it was selling. Unfortunately, it was selling for our competitor as they had the Alabama rights to that label. We were getting clobbered in the under ten dollar grocery store segment. (That sounds very professional, as if we had market studies and graphs denoting market trends. The truth is that we had one salesman who handled mostly grocery stores and he was a grumbly pile of discontent with occasional eruptions of “This is bullshit!”) At our meeting we discussed the absurdity of people buying wine because of the cute little animal on the label. We tossed about strategies to bring people to their senses. We planned frequent tastings to get people beyond the picture on the bottle. A few months later our boss contracted to sell wine with a cute little koala bear on the label. 

Antipodian marketing gold?

I can’t remember the name of our koala wine and googling “koala bear wine” brings up several labels, but none of them are familiar. It sold moderately well but the lead [yellowtail] established proved insurmountable. Other distributors jumped in to the fray. For a few years grocery store wine aisles were menageries. There were dogs, cats, bears, and more. We later brought in the truly awful Rex Goliath. Our grocery store guy was thrilled. It had a chicken on the front. These cutesy labels became known around the industry as critter wines. As quickly as it arrived, this marketing ploy disappeared, leaving only the established giants on the shelves. I have not had a critter wine in almost ten years.

As a sipping wine, the [yellowtail] pinot grigio is fine. As a pinot grigio, it misses the mark. There is an almost candied melon/banana/tropical fruit up front with sharp acids on the sides. None of these flavors are foreign to pinot grigios of course, but the volume is up too high on this wine. No subtlety or layering. All everything, all at once. As I said in the beginning, the wine was left at my house, but I believe a bottle can be had for less than ten dollars. Not altogether bad.

One last thing. Been wondering what the people who made those annoyingly campy Old Navy commercials have been up to? I think I have found the answer:

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