Grigio Girls: A Gaga Venture

As I have mentioned so many times already, Wined Up is all about making wine accessible for the everyday person. The person who wants to know a bit more about wine but might have stayed away from it in the past because of lack of confidence or embarrassment when asking a ‘silly’ question. I was at a wine tasting last week and still shied away from answering a couple of questions that the host put to the group. Even though I knew the answers, I didn’t want to risk getting one wrong and look/feel stupid… and I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all-twat. To me, anything that can bring wine culture to a wider audience deserves to be celebrated.

We will all have our opinions on celebrity endorsements. They obviously work to a certain degree and appeal to many people, whether it’s David Beckham advertising a well known brand of marker pen or the most powerful man in the world, president of the USA & the earth’s best tangerine impersonator; Donald Trump, getting a bit too turned on by a certain global fast food pizza company. In the wine world, Canadian hero and Ice Hockey god Wayne Gretzky has his face and name on a range of wines throughout Canada, ranging from vintages from Niagara, Ontario to Okanagan, British Columbia. It’s widely available throughout the country and is a well recognised brand. I’ve tried some of the wine and it isn’t bad either. As hockey is so popular in Canada, you can imagine the soar in wine sales when Wayne put his name on the brand.

Personally, I don’t really get celebrity endorsements. I don’t understand how/why someone who is getting paid to say something about a product should influence your decision on whether or not to buy it. However, I accept that it does work to an extent and, if it helps broaden the appeal of something to a new demographic which can really get something out of it, then that’s a good thing. Recently, it emerged that Lady Gaga is putting her name into the wine industry hat. I’ve been thinking about this and I’m not sure what I think. Looking at things objectively, and for the aforementioned reasons, I’m thinking that this could be a great opportunity… if done right.

Now, there isn’t too much information about LG’s upcoming venture apart from the name ‘Grigio Girls’ so it is safe to assume that this might be a line of Pinot Grigio (it would be pretty fucking stupid to call it Grigio Girls and then initially release a line of Merlot). Lady Gaga is an icon for many younger people, especially young women. Her music is played in clubs and bars around the world and alongside that, she is known for her activism for causes against fracking, her role within the LGBT movement and has launched her own foundation, helping to empower young people in all aspects of life, ranging from anti bullying initiatives to career development. So, as far as developing the image and extending the target demographic of wine, I think Lady Gaga is a great candidate and I have high hopes for its launch.

There are a couple of things that I’m not so sure on though.

Grigio Girls. The name, for me, just doesn’t do it. I am fully aware that it is also the name of one of her songs, so it’s a great opportunity to strengthen the brand that is Lady Gaga. I’m also aware that it is a sort of a tribute to a close friend of hers who is battling cancer at the moment who was a part of the ‘Grigio Girl’ group that inspired the song, so I want to go on record and say that I do applaud the sentiment and find it heartwarming. I’m not having a gripe at anyone with cancer, I’m not Noel Edmonds! (The twat!) The reason I don’t particularly like the name is because it automatically singles out one market… young women. As a young(ish) adult male, I wouldn’t see a bottle of Grigio Girls in the shop and be drawn to it. To me, the name lacks a certain maturity that it needs to be taken seriously. Also, the name kind of reminds me of the ‘Lambrini Girls’ advertising campaign and, to put it politely, well… Lambrini isn’t the most respected brand on the planet.

There’s a fine line between having a quirky name and then having something that can risk ruining the image of your wine, so I just worry about the impact the name may have on this upcoming collection. No doubt, it will initially be successful, simply because of Lady Gaga’s fame and status but I think the name may be detrimental to its reputation because people might not give it enough respect. One thing I love about new world wine is that they have fun with the names, they’re not bound to the strict classifications that a lot of European wine is. However, I really am not a fan of the name Grigio Girls.

I really wish it all the best though and hope that the necessary time is spent and effort made to create a fantastic wine for Ms Gaga. As mentioned, I think she is a great figure to have entering the wine industry. One thing I believe would fit her style is if she did something in the same vain as Patrick Reuter – the man behind Dominio IV – and his imagination series. He has opted to describe the qualities of his wine through visual interpretations, highlighting certain flavours with specific colours and things like acidity with different patterns/shapes. We actually promoted an article he recently did with Munchies via our twitter page (the link is pasted at the bottom of the page if you want to find out more). This style and expression, I believe, would really fit her brand as she has been known to express herself with various outfits that visually shock and evoke a reaction from anybody who sees it.

Anyway, whatever the outcome, I’m sure it will be interesting to say the very least and I am looking forward to seeing if ‘Grigio Girls’ can be successful in further merging pop culture and the wine industry.

– James



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