Something to Wine About

This Sunday, communities from all over the country will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of September 11th, 2001.  With the United States remaining politically divided on many issues, people are wondering if the anniversary of September 11th could bring the country closer together.  Leaders around the U.S. are calling for a change in the nation and “true bipartisan cooperation for the benefit of our country.”

From big events, like the 9-11 Memorial opening in New York, people everywhere in America are finding ways to remember one of the biggest tragedies in our country’s history.  Perhaps one of the most controversial has been the selling of 9-11 Memorial Commemorative wines.  Lieb Family Cellars of Mattituck, Long Island has caused outrage by producing a range of 9-11 Memorial wines to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The winemaker is selling Chardonnay and Merlot wines at $9.11 a bottle, and giving 10% of the proceeds to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

Despite these donations, the announcement of the wine has made many upset.    Lieb Family Cellars’ advertisements promote a wine made from “grapes grown 90 miles from the site of the World Trade Center,” and with sensitivities over the anniversary running high, this concept has sparked outcry.  Critics have accused the maker of, “exploiting the atrocity to make money.”

Lieb Family Cellars insists that it is not making any money off the project.  Gary Madden, the general manager told The Times: “It’s a non-profit project.  We made the wine for charity; the profits on sales go to them.  It was done with the foundation, all under their licensing.”

Many people have taken to social networking sites, such as Twitter, to express their anger about the issue.  Perez Hilton said, “WTF?” He calls this “tacky” and posted the following tweet: “@NoReservations- 9-11 Wine?!!? Are you out of your MIND?!! EPIC FAIL.”

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has called the brand naming around this wine “grotesque, exploitative and vomit inducing,” while the FDNY EMS proclaims, “What does the 9/11 Memorial brand next? Soap? Carwax? Tampons?  Hot dogs? Dog food?…anything for $?”

Some say the Lieb Family Cellars’ intentions are good, with the victims and their families in mind; however, perhaps they should have done a little bit more research in regards to the implementation and marketing of their commemorative product.

– Stephanie Bakolia, Claire Outlaw, & David Glaubach

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3 thoughts on “Something to Wine About

  1. I actually had heard of this particular wine a few weeks back and immediately thought what everyone else was thinking – tacky. When you initially hear that someone is making and selling wine while using the term “9/11” and the price is $9.11, I think everyone would assume its an awful way to make money. I don’t see anyone reading about this, or seeing this wine wherever its sold, and thinking “Hey, that’s really nice of them.” Even if these people are saying its a non-profit organization, I still find it really hard to believe that they aren’t making a profit at all. And if they are, (which I’m SURE they are), then I think that’s really wrong. Some stuff should just be left out of the marketing and branding world, stuff like 9/11. It shouldn’t be commercialized.

  2. I think this article really points out how desperate Americans are to brand things. Lieb Family Cellars are taking one of the most tragic events in world history and trying to exploit their wine company by relating the two together. While the wine producers are targeting those who have been effected by the attack 10 years ago, slapping 9/11 on a wine bottle is not an appropriate way of doing so. I think that Anthony Bourdain makes a good point when he questions what could be next because selling “9/11 wine” is just ridiculous. The book Branded Nation relates religions as a brand and could relate this great American tragedy as a brand by explaining, “a brand is a story that travels with a product or service…”(Twitchell). According to this definition of a brand, it is quite obvious that this wine company is trying to take the story of 9/11 and associate it with their production of wine.

  3. I’ve got mixed feelings about the 9-11 Memorial Wine. On one hand, it can be said that the company is exploiting the terrible event of 9-11 for a profit. On the other hand, the company is raising money (whether they are making a profit or not) for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. If the company says they are not making a profit, then it is hard to argue with them. In general, I think celebrity opinions are usually worthless, even though Perez Hilton really makes some valid points in his Twitter post: “WTF?…EPIC FAIL.” Well said, but as long as this company is not turning a significant profit, I don’t see a big problem with the sale of this wine.

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