The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2016

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Page 71 of 148

january-february 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  71 Guests enjoy one another's company around a fire with Meiomi. It's the simple things that matter. PHOTO: BFA PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF MEIOMI WINES PHOTO: BFA PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF MEIOMI WINES PHOTO: BFA PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF MEIOMI WINES PHOTO: BFA PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF MEIOMI WINES The Meiomi 2014 Pinot Noir wasn't the only wine featured at the event. Guests also enjoyed the Meiomi 2014 Chardonnay and the Meiomi 2015 Nouveau Pinot Noir, Meiomi's limited-release version of a fresh, fruity, uncel- lared Beaujolais Nouveau. The wines are line-priced at SRP $19.99. As a sommelier, I can't even begin to tell you how many times someone would ask me for Meiomi or a Pinot Noir that tastes like Meiomi. I've learned that Meiomi drinkers are fiercely loyal, and when I asked Beers why she thought that was, she replied, "Hands down, Meiomi's distinct flavor profile is what garners the incredible brand loyalty and following Meiomi has acquired. In discussions with our consumers, they described the wine style as rich, smooth and fuller-bodied, but still has a fruit-forward profile that makes them feel there's complexity, without being pretentious. It's a very drinkable wine that is just rich enough, just smooth enough, and just complex enough to feel upscale and be versatile." No wonder Constellation Brands Inc. didn't hesitate at the $315 million acquisition price this last summer. Sales grew from 60,000 cases in 2010 to 600,000 cases in 2014. By the way, don't worry if you're a Meiomi fan concerned with the change—original founder Joe Wagner has agreed to stay on as Consulting Winemaker over the next two years. As devoted as Meiomi drinkers are, I still wondered why they'd go to all this trouble pampering their guests, aside from them deserving it, of course . . . Beers tells us that "the Meiomi way of life is very social. It's about family, friends and sharing life's simple pleasures with others. Meiomi drinkers see the brand as sophisticated, classic and approachable." Dropping a word like "sophisticated" to describe your brand could backfire if taken to mean "pretentious." However, Beers reminds me that the Meiomi drinker "enjoys 'affordable luxuries.' Our consumers don't like things that are pretentious, and therefore gravitate toward Meiomi for its approachability. Meiomi consumers are typically in their 30s and 40s and are smart, ambi- tious, sophisticated, driven, savvy and confident." Those at the event certainly appeared to fit this bill. I'd bet they showed up, tired from their everyday lives, and left feeling good as Nouveau. Guests enjoyed a hot stone chair mas- sage while sipping Meiomi Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Constellation crew, from left to right: Brand Manager Tanya Beers; Public Relations Manager Karli Warner; Melissa Gardner; Dierdre Kennedy Villanueva; and Public Relations Director Anne Siegel.

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