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wb23
by Joel Quigley
Magazine Issue: Vol. 2.3
W I N E . B R A T S
the big box
N E X T P A G E >
<

The Big Box and You
Big TV Ad Campaigns are a Great Idea to Drive People to the Juice,
But if Tubers Don't Have Anywhere Friendly to Go . . . Well . . .

Call me Jeb. I'm a cool dude. At least I think I'm a pretty neat guy. Do all right with the girls. When I'm not sitting in front of the computer grinding out 60-hour weeks on Web design, I rollerblade like a maniac through the streets of Los Angeles to clear the head. Exercise.

I'm definitely hungry to get ahead, but willing to indulge certain pleasures on the way. Dancing. Women. Tasty Brews. Dig throwing back a few Kamikazes when I really want to play hard on the town. And running with the boys, I like that, pretending we're actually out looking for trouble . . . then big doses of coffee in the morning. Gotta have caffeine.

Let's look back to last Monday evening: the weekend was basically a bust. Except for the fact that I met this great gal. She's trouble. Got brains AND beauty. Not a girl to play games with. So I'm sitting in front of the tube, blowing off an overdue project at my desk, watching Monday Night Football and thinking about McKenzie. That's her name. I'm thinking about how to impress her. Something out of the ordinary. Something cool.

Next thing I know, as I'm failing to tune-out Dan and Mike and Frank, this commercial comes on. Unbelievable. They're talking about wine. It's a variation on the "Got Milk" theme. Not bad. Then a light goes off in my head. Dinner. Dancing. Fine Wine. That's what McKenzie deserves. Come to think of it, she'd even mentioned that she was into wine. Of course, I had avoided the subject. Didn't want to risk looking stupid.

Tuesday afternoon came, and I was on the make. I blew off work early, pulled along a couple of my cronies to peruse the grocery aisles. Try to get a grasp on this wine thing. My friends are shaking their heads, "Let's grab a six pack of something we can pronounce." Finally, I cornered a box boy. He just shrugged his shoulders, "Reds are over there. Whites next to 'em."

All right, time to head over to that wine shop across town, chance a one-on-one with a wine geek. Now we're in the racks. The clerk, a gentleman in slate-gray slacks and cardigan sweater gives us the once over. His raised brow seemed to recoil at our entrepreneurial, work-at-home dress and long hair. Then it happens. I was ready to broach the subject of wine, the bell at the front door of the store chimes. A Gucci woman with poodle in arms strolls in and smiles.

Mr. Clerkman nods his head at me, "The less expensive wines are on the back wall." He's gone, scratching the poodles head under a sign that reads, "BURGUNDY." I have a flashback, remembering my parents, jug in the fridge. I can see it. The label: "Hearty Burgundy." Whatever.

Buddy #1 interrupts my childhood memories. "You still wanna try that restaurant thing?" Momentarily, I hesitate, then say, "Not a chance. I've seen those lists." Buddy #2 says, "What about McKenzie?" I step outside the store, into the clean LA air, friends in tow. "She's a nice girl. Probably not my type. Let's do Happy Hour at Gringo's?" My buddies exchange smiles. "Margeritas!"

Now that I've burned up all my column space, let's cut to the chase. If wine isn't friendly at the end-user level, a big TV campaign to drive people to the juice will be a lopsided equation. If there's no "place" for people to have a positive first experience with wine on a wide-spread scale, and not merely a few hit-and-miss locations that have adopted friendly pricing and presentation, then we've all missed the point.

On the other hand, if wine lovers band together to demand change and spread the word about the few establishments already offering friendly pricing and presentation, then we've got something. A revolution. As a group, we could spark a new era in wine and food. If this happens, a big TV campaign can then lead these curious people into the loving arms of wine.

So here's the plan: if you know a hot spot that understands how to pour a friendly glass, please e-mail us so we can share the information with the world. Also, check out WineRave.com to post this information and/or read the already growing list of forward-thinking establishments. So make your move, join the revolution, and maybe your insight will become a feature story. Or even better yet, simply turn a few friends on to a great experience in wine!

Cheers. We'll see you on the Big Box.

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