Thursday, August 02, 2007

Voga Italia: Hooked on the Italian Wine Marketing Machine

Most of my friends can tell when I’m really bored. I pace, I punctuate my conversation with gestures that are even more flamboyant and sweeping than usual, and I go window-shopping. Okay, okay, frequently I go a bit beyond just window-shopping – I don’t mind admitting it’s probably a “girl thing.”

But still, a product has to capture my attention before I’ll actually part with cold, hard cash. So with Frank away on a particularly intense business trip to St Louis, the wine display of Voga at Mark Anthony’s, one of our local private liquor stores, unexpectedly came up with just the ticket.

At first I thought it was a case of mistaken identity. In my mind, the neatly stacked bottles of Pinot Grigio resembled nothing as much as bottles of aftershave on steroids. Was I simply even more bored than I suspected? No, they really did remind me of some sort of mega flask of perfumed liquid for splashing on sundry body parts.

I’d already found the two Pinot Noirs and the Tyrrell’s Verdelho I’d come in to buy, so what was another bottle in the grand scheme of things – especially at a price point of under $15. If it was all simply marketing drama, I’d chuck it with no regrets.

At home, I was surprised to discover more fragrance in my glass than I’d expected – even in its current significantly over-chilled state. Floral with some interesting background notes of grapefruit, there was also an elusive quality that made me think of sitting on a Mediterranean stone wall in the cool of evening. Frank would have been able to say whether it was flint or mineral or something totally different, but at that point in a long day, the image simply brought me a ridiculous amount of enjoyment from what I’d expected to be, at best, a cheap-and-cheerful patio sipper.

Now curiosity took over. I checked out the website. Sex and the City move over – this marketing machine is cranked up into high gear. Flashing images of slinky women interspersed with a few muscular male torsos, it’s clear someone is engaging in a superb advertising strategy, and one that persuaded me to opt in.

Would I buy this wine again? You bet. Would I buy it often? Probably not. But then again, it was a fun experiment, and for scientific accuracy an experiment should always be repeated – at least once.

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