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09.25.2005

Who Wants Pooh Bear on Their Wine Label? Apparently Everyone

We all do it. We all occasionally buy a wine based on its label. If you don't you either are lying to yourself or don't go browsing through wine stores nearly often enough. We are creatures that like to collect, and we are also ytail.jpg creatures who are attracted to, as a friend like to put it "bright shiny things," by which she means anything that strikes our fancy.

Apparently these days, the thing striking the fancy of growing legions of younger wine buyers is cute little animals. I shit you not. There are huge wine companies spending millions of dollars researching what makes twenty-somethings and early thirty-somethings reach out for that bottle on the shelf, and increasingly it's clear that the winning combinations are cute fuzzy animals in bright colors.

I mean, we all know that there's some truth to it -- Yellow Tail hasn't become one of the most popular wine brands in the USA just because it tastes good. There are plenty of wine brands that taste good at that price point that never go anywhere. So I've always believed that it had something to do with the kangaroos (oh, and the 150 million dollars they spent on marketing).

Apparently, though, this animal thing is serious business. "Is [this trend towards animals on the label] a fad? I don't think so," says one executive at the worlds largest wine company, Constellation Brands. "It is actually a representation of (new), younger consumers coming into the wine market and being excited by things that are different ... It may not be as explosive in terms of its growth in the future, but it definitely affords an opportunity for growth now."

They even have an industry term for these wines: Critter brands.

Like it or not, Yellow Tail has changed the way that wine will be marketed to US consumers, and we're in for a lot more of this stuff than we've seen already. Check out the story.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.