Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Really Screwed Up.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm really not much on pretense. This is especially true when it comes to wine. In fact, I have a theory that 99.9% of the men who proudly call themselves "Wine Experts" are the exact same kids who were routinely beaten up in high school*. It's the pretense and snobbery that permeates wine which makes it so difficult to convert non-wine drinkers. This is a widely known - and lamented - industry fact.
Another wine fact is that there's always someone trying to invent the next "cool" gadget to allow the wine lover to part with their money...over something other than a bottle of wine. I was reminded of both of these truths recently when I received an unsolicited sales pitch from a company known as Vimentis. To my surprise, it wasn't a solicitation for yet another medical means of male enhancement!

Vimentis is a Canadian business which markets a gadget that fills the void when one asks, "How can I class up the opening of a screwcapped wine bottle?" Well, if asked, my answer would be, "By getting a manicure?" Vimentis thinks the answer is, "By buying our product!" It seems that the fine folks over at Vimentis wants to remind us that selling wine is all about reinforcing pretense, romance...and gadgetry.

And dig their se-duc-tive ad copy! "There is something to be said about the ritual of cork removal..." I'll say there is. It detracts from your enjoyment of your wine, your meal and your table companions. "...and something subsequently lacking when a server presents your wine in a restaurant only to do a quick wrist twist and be done with it." Really? Isn't that a bit tantamount to complaining, "Sure, the movie was great...but the previews they showed before the movie totally ruined the evening", or, "the food at that restaurant was incredible, but the color of their menu covers!" "Vimentis - Bringing Ritual and Romance to the Wine Screw Cap." Is the public really screaming out about the lack of this?

Call me silly, but when it comes to wine, it should be about the wine.

Alas, Vimentis isn't the first company to try to sex up the opening of a screwcap. The first one I encountered was a device that is now known as the WineFritz. I encountered this device years back at a wine event in Vail, Colorado. The inventors - noticing that all the wines on my table were screwcapped - quickly approached me and laid on their well-rehearsed sales' pitch.

"We've invented a device which adds romance to opening a screwcap!" they proclaimed, to which I asked, "Why do you think there needs to be additional romance? Isn't part of the beauty of the screwcap the ease of its use?" They explained that, being owners of a very popular restaurant in neighboring Breckenridge, they knew (or believed they knew) that the addition of romance meant the addition of a heaftier tip for their servers. And, the couple in front of me reasoned, as many wineries provided promotional corkscrews to restaurant servers, perhaps I'd like to buy some of their screwcap devices - emblazoned with my logo - as giveaways?

I picked up their nifty, not-so-little device and asked them, "Have you given any thought to how impractical this is for repeated tableside service?" My comment was met with blank stares. "Think about it," I stated, "a corkscrew fits easily into a server's back pocket or apron. This think is so big, there's no way a server can walk around with it. I'll bet you they'll lose this thing within the first night of using it." Their jaws dropped simultaneously. "But," I added, "you're never going to lose my handy invention for opening screwcaps." Smiling, I held it up:

And they didn't cost me - nor you - anything. Thank goodness for my opposable thumbs. I never go anywhere without them!
*And I'm betting the remaining 0.10% just didn't hear the question correctly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spoil sport,
If it wasn't for all the rituals, I wouldn't drink wine. How am I suppost to feel superior to beer drinkers.