Would you drink a wine that, “celebrates and supports that part of humanity which offers hope…and...strives to provide a better world for future generations"? (Quote taken from Newman's Own Foundation website regarding the mission of the organization.)
While ruminating in the California section of the wine aisle, my son suggested the Newman’s Own Cabernet (lately he has taken to randomly pointing at labels for me to try). My response, “What? Paul Newman is making wine now? You’ve got to be kidding me!” The son didn’t know what I was talking about, so I had to explain the range of products from popcorn to lemonade, that raise money for charities. He insisted that I try it, and although I was skeptical (I hate gimmick wines), I figured I didn’t have much to lose for ten bucks.
Believe it or not, it was really good. Imminently drinkable. Frankly, it was worth all ten bucks and then some. Who knew?
While swirling the lovely red liquid in my glass, I couldn’t help but think about an article I recently read. It was about the 9/11 Memorial Wine. This commemorative bottle is highly controversial for what critics claim is a “tasteless ploy to capitalize on a tragedy”. Apparently, the celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain blasted the wines on Twitter, calling them “vomit inducing” and yanking them off his restaurant’s wine menu.
I confess, at first glance I agreed. Why would someone want to buy wine honoring a tragedy? However, after further reflection, and a glass or two of Newman’s Cab, I decided that the concept of buying a wine that donates its proceeds towards a charity isn’t some devious scam to take advantage of us consumers. If it was, the proceeds wouldn’t be going toward the charity, which in the case of the 9/11 wine, is the Memorial Museum honoring the victims.
The real question is, would you buy it? And is there a difference between picking up a wine for ten dollars, which donates to a variety of ‘faceless’ causes, and buying a bottle for almost twenty dollars ($19.11) whose proceeds benefit a specific, highly publicized, and emotionally charged, national tragedy?
The point is worth considering. To my thinking, this isn’t really about wine. It’s more about a moral dilemma. And so perhaps there is a case to be made either way. But that’s just my opinion.
What do you think?