Segmentation and targeting are often discussed among wine professionals, some of whom dislike the notion of wines or brands being thought of as only being relevant to particular groups of consumers.
One new wine brand that clearly disagrees with this view is We The People which was recently launched in the US with an audience whose target is 100% clear on its label – complete with images associated with the Republican party – and a frankly Trumpian, anti BLM video clip on its website.
As Ryan Coyne, the man behind the brand, told the hosts of Fox & Friends, “we wanted to build a brand about American exceptionalism… free people, free markets, free speech – all of the values we think are under attack by woke culture.”
Responding to this, Will Cain, one of the presenters asked if Coyne was responding to a market opportunity offered by people wanting to buy a “product they believe in” rather than one produced by “corporations bowing to the left wing orthodoxy”.
A clear enthusiast for the concept, Cain went on to say “You don’t have to give money to people who hate you… give it to people who share your values".
We The People, it must be said, is not a venture launched by a GOP-supporting California winery. As Coyne, CEO of Olympic Media which ‘leads the digital advertising and fundraising efforts for some of the most notable campaigns and political advocacy groups in the nation’, frankly admitted wine was chosen for the brand by his Washington DC-based business because of the way “it brings people together”. In other words. We The People is currently a political campaigning vehicle in the shape of a pair of $28-30 wines that are currently sold directly from its website and wine club.
An undisclosed portion of the profits from every bottle go to support conservative candidates and causes so, as Rob Schmitt, another right wing presenter said when introducing Coyne on the Newsmax channel, “you can drink the wine and own the libs at the same time”. Or, as the website puts it ‘Every sip, another vote’.
Strikingly, the We The People ad, which Coyne says has been watched by over 7m people, only features the wine in the final seconds. There is no reason why a similar clip might not end with a bar of We The People chocolate, a bag of We The People coffee or a bottle of We The People ketchup.
By profitably selling products while promoting a political movement Coyne is, of course, only following the example of Donald Trump whose caps and other merchandising material brought in millions of dollars. Historically, however, these kinds of exercises were associated with election cycles. In today’s febrile atmosphere, large numbers of American consumers of Fox & Friends Newsmax and other right-wing media may be delighted to support ‘American values’ across a wide range of shopping on a more permanent basis.
And, just in case any left-of-centre readers feel that wine should be kept out of politics – and vice versa – for the sake of balance, I have to point out that a clever Western Australian winemaker called Nik Peterkin did produce a determinedly non-nationalist Chardonnay called ‘Fuck Him’ bearing the unmistakable profile of the former US president. “We pressed the grapes using a Swiss press, and a Mexican winemaker and Dutch girl transferred the wine into French oak. It was then sealed with a cork from Portugal, with wax from the Czech Republic”
Peterkin only made a few cases of that wine, and anyone following his example in the US would of course struggle to get a friendly interview on Fox & Friends. But who knows? There’s nothing new in wines being associated with charitable causes and sporting teams. Why not politics?
And I haven’t even started…