There’s a Biblical injunction about putting new wines in new bottles, and a savvy marketing man has taken it to heart—and the bank. When James Nash thought of putting wine into single-serve plastic glasses, with a peel-off top, he did what most people do these days: He went on TV. The show was “Dragons’ Den,” where would-be entrepreneurs present their ideas to a panel of business experts, in hopes of getting funding. He was turned down by the entire panel, and scornfully. He went ahead anyway, secured a partnership deal with Marks & Spencer, and now his product is on sale in their stores all over England, and selling very well indeed—“flying off the shelves,” as an M&S spokesperson said. (They’re sold in the “to go” section of the stores.)
The wines are Chardonnay, Rosé, and Shiraz, all from the south of France (Vin de Pays d’Oc), all
2009, packaged in 187-milliliter stemmed glasses (about one-quarter of a standard bottle). The packaging is very good—I dropped the shopping bag by accident, and it split with a loud noise, but the wine didn’t spill. The wines are branded, cutely, as Le Froglet (no comment has been heard yet from the French).
The story’s good—little guy triumphs over so-called “experts.” How about the wine? Well, that’s another story. The Chardonnay is exceedingly dull, and over-sulphured, basically generic white wine with an afterburn; the Shiraz is not bad, but not really good either, a little fruit, a bit of tannin, basically mediocre generic red; the Rosé is raspberryish, palatable, fairly dry and slightly fruity, basically no worse than a lot of other mass-market Rosés. At £2.25 per serving, they add up to £9 a standard bottle. Convenience has a high price; indeed, you could call it exorbitant. . .