Let them eat cake?

Part of being a good marketer, publicist or just plain old communicator (whether in the wine business or any other sector) is keeping your ear to the ground. That would include reading newspapers, as old fashioned as that might sound.

And when you are reading your local newspaper, the op-eds and letters to the editor are important places to look. Those pieces are the voice of John or Jane Q. Public—people who care enough to organize their thoughts and communicate them as broadly as they can.

And in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, may I recommend for your reading pleasure (and marketing savvy skills) an op-ed by a writer from San Francisco, Jeff Miller?

He’s letting off steam about the foodie culture in San Francisco: it’s worth reading:

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Food-fan-or-foodie-In-San-Francisco-it-matters-6378016.php#comments (pay wall)

“Food fan or foodie? In San Francisco, it matters,” is the headline. “As a longtime resident of San Francisco, I am tired of feeling guilty for considering food more fuel than art. I enjoy a seared scallop as much as the next person — but I am not obsessed with smoked black cod ponzu or water buffalo meatballs for $32. I think it is high time that like-minded people decry foodie-ism for what it is: pretentious, exclusionary and expensive nonsense.” Wow. Pretty succinctly said, right? Here’s why this is important to read and mull over: how far ‘away’ is today’s wine culture from foodie culture?

Mr. Miller does include a reference to Napa Valley as he talks about restaurant culture: “I have tried to simply ignore the fawning and farcical celebration of this-or-that Michelin-starred, San Francisco celebrity chef and the rapturous drivel about Napa wine lists and poetic cuisine. But over-the-top accolades and starry-eyed “reporting” now have reached such a crescendo that, before another mini-plate of seaweed in Thai basil broth is served, I must speak out for the other San Francisco…”

Where is real food? Real people? Mr. Miller is echoing the sentiments which here in Napa Valley we are seeing play out in the anti-new-winery movement. The step towards ‘real wine’ is quite close.

Miller continues: “We further assert that eating out in San Francisco and its surrounding counties is becoming a class-conscious, expensive sport for the wealthy and their acolytes…” and he recommends “…. We are instead urging them to redirect their enthusiasm to teaching people — and maybe themselves — the virtues of healthy cooking, not extravagant eating….and for returning some balance to the discourse about food.”

After you read this piece, you might take those ‘fresh’ eyes over to your winery’s website and consider what you see….just sayin’…is your winery in the ‘let them eat cake’ mode?