Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Economist Tastes West Michigan

If the Economist magazine has an article with a dateline of Benton Harbor, I would expect it to be about Whirlpool or racial strife.

But no--the high-brow British mag held forth on wine in a recent article.

This is nice PR for the West Michigan region and its wineries, especially given the readers of this publication are likely to be wine consumers. The comments in the article are also a lesson--some readers resent the elitism in the wine industry. So prestige pricing strategy doesn't always work.

The article also shows the disdain for the Midwest when it states matter-of-factly (editorializes) that wineries in places like Michigan are "unexpected." Unexpected only by ignorant elite British magazine editors, perhaps. I've been aware of Michigan wines since I was first of drinking age, way back in the '80s. I also know from working as a magazine journalist in the Traverse City region that the 45th parallel--the same line of latitude that runs through the famous wine region of Bordeaux, France--crosses Michigan near Charlevoix. We also have sandy hills adjacent to a large body of water. So we have the geography and topography where one might 'expect' wine to flourish. We even have a city with a name that ends in 'x.' You might say we've got latitude, while the Economist should lose the attitude.

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