Mead On Wine

© 1997 JDM Enterprises
All Rights Reserved
Vol. I No. 43

How To Subscribe


by Jerry D. Mead

 I have picked on wine commercials for years, for being
bland, dull, preaching to the choir, and appealing only to cork-sniffing
connoisseurs who already have their minds made up about wine.

Wine commercials have rarely been either fun or sexy, or even entertaining, as beer and soda pop commercials so frequently are.

Too many wine ads feature pictures of fancy food and fuzzy, feel good shots of wine bottles, that are simply boring, boring, boring.

Now, Nathanson Creek, the new popularly priced brand, has three 30 second spots running on such high profile programs as Monday Night Football. I love the ads...but they should be shown to audiences more predominantly female, because women buy 75 percent of the wine and the ads appeal to women even more than men.

I place two of the three Nate Creek ads in a dead-heat tie for best wine commercial of the past dozen years. The punch line for all three is the same: "Plan to be spontaneous."

Ad No. 1: A slightly frazzled, obviously working woman, struggles to open her residence door with arms full of purse, papers brought home from work and so on. As she finally gets the door open her eyes spy a pair of naked, obviously male feet with wiggling toes. As she looks up she gets an amused look on her face, finally breaking completely up and dropping everything in her arms to the floor. The camera finally shows you what she is laughing at...the man in her life is standing on the stairway wearing nothing but a giant red bow around his middle. Plan to be spontaneous!

Ad No. 2: This is the one for pet lovers. The scene is a messy bedroom on what might be a Sunday morning. The comforter and pillows are in disarray and a newspaper is scattered about. French doors are open to what appears to be a terrace or balcony. The family dog, a large nondescript breed, enters looking for his people, sniffing here, sniffing there, finally giving up and leaving. As the dog exits, the lid on a large cedar chest at the foot of the bed raises to reveal a woman wrapped in a sheet who sets an empty wine glass on the bedroom floor. A pair of obviously male arms reach up for her as she laughs, responds and then disappears once again as the lid lowers. Plan to be spontaneous.

Ad No. 3: A man and woman in party attire are kissing and giggling over a glass of wine. They stand and he lifts her into his arms and you see they are outside, on a patio. They walk toward the house passing a large swimming pool. He turns and tosses her, without warning and fully clothed, into the pool, and before she can even react...jumps in with her. Plan to be spontaneous.

Nathanson Creek is a brand owned by the Sebastiani family. My compliments to them for having the foresight and courage to bring wine advertising into the 21st century...a couple of years early.

I only have one question. Why aren't they using the same humorous theme in their print ads?


A California vintner and grower organization has underwritten an educational lesson plan created by a first grade teacher and titled "Seasons in the Vineyard." Already being used in classrooms in two California counties, it is now available to elementary school teachers nationwide.

The plan teaches art, science and general agricultural information about winegrape growing. Copies are available through Paso Robles Vintners & Growers, Box 324, Paso Robles, CA 93447 (805) 239-8463.


One of the California's smaller wineries specializes in two things, making bold, mostly red, wines and making them from old vines and organically grown grapes whenever possible.

Vigil Vineyard wines are made in the hundreds of cases, not in the tens of thousands, and are available only in a limited number of states, usually in exclusive wine shops or restaurants. For more information: Vigil Vineyard, 3340 Hwy 128, Calistoga, CA 94515 800-948-4445.

Terra Vin 1995 "California" Red Wine ($10) This proprietary brand is produced from 50 percent Lodi Zinfandel and 50 percent Sonoma and Mendocino Carignane and was a gold medal winner at the California State Fair. It's a solid "Best Buy" with soft, fruity, but definitely not wimpy, berries and plums flavors. Rating: 86/90

Terra Vin 1995 "Napa Valley" Red Wine ($18) This version is made from Vigil's own 10 acre, old vines, organic vineyard and is what is called a "field blend." Several varieties are inter-planted and the grower picks them and they all go into the finished wine. The blend is 65 percent Zinfandel, 26 percent Carignane and 9 percent Refosco. A really big wine. Black raspberry and dark plum fruit..earthy and very complex. Limited. Rating: 96/85

Vigil also makes a bold young wine called "Vigilante Red" ($8 - 88/88) and a great Bordeaux style called "Valiente Claret" ($18 - 94/86).


Leeward 1996 "Central Coast" Chardonnay ($11 or less) Occasionally on sale for as low as $6.99, this "Best Buy" wine will hold its own with wines selling for $20 and more. A blend of San Ysidro and Paragon Vineyard-Edna Valley fruit, it is that rare breed, a totally dry, moderately priced Chardonnay. The aroma promises ripe tropical fruits and flavors, but in the mouth it is surprisingly (and pleasantly) lean in structure. It enters with pineapple and melon as promised in the nose, but finishes with lemon and green apple tartness. A super food companion. Dry enough for oysters; rich enough for salmon and tuna. Case purchases highly recommended. Rating: 88/96

Leeward is a small producer based in Ventura County, with broad distribution for its size. Leeward Winery, 2784 Johnson Dr., Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 656-5054.

Wines are scored using a unique 100 point system. First number rates quality; second number rates value.


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Latest Update: December 3, 1997