Ladybrain-free wine blogging

Three long years ago, I promised to blog about the Western Slope of Colorado and its produce and wine. Life somehow interfered with the execution of that promise, but in the meantime, we’ve had the chance to learn more about Colorado wine – specifically, that it can be quite good and has great potential to keep improving. But don’t just take my word for it – others are spreading the word too.


On our visit to Colorado wine country three long years ago, we toured many wineries in the Palisade and Paonia areas. So many, in fact, that we returned with 33 bottles of wine! Veterans of several summertime tours to eastern Washington wineries, we were well-prepared with ice packs and Styrofoam coolers to ensure the safe journey home of our bounty in 100-degree heat. (Heat wasn’t a concern once we hit a mudslide that washed out the road on our return. We got to see a lot more of the state than we’d expected when we took an exciting detour over Kebler Pass [unpaved!] and then through Crested Butte. But I digress …)

One of our favorite stops on the trip was Canyon Wind Cellars in Palisade. The wines were uniformly excellent, and the setting? Stunning:



So why do I bring this up, three years later? Well, we’re still drinking their wine: their 47-Ten everyday blend is quite reliable (see this review of their rosé, where it performed admirably among more well-known names and regions) and was available at Costco this season at what the French call a prix intéressant. And I just love their tagline:



That’s right – Wine With an Altitude! Cheeky and evocative, it’s a great tagline that reinforces the key proposition here: this is Colorado wine! Remember, if you’re wedded to a descriptive or not all-that-distinctive trademark, a tagline can make all the difference. But don’t trust me on that: trust Nancy, who wrote the book on taglines (or at least parts One and Two!)

August Birchbox

Yes, yes, it’s back to school. While this month’s Birchbox insert has lots of interesting information (did you know that Mylanta will calm razor burn?), the products inside don’t really wow me.

First, there’s a Schick razor.
From a pure value standpoint, this item alone is worth the monthly layout. At best, this razor runs about $8, with most outlets offering it for $11. And I guess from a trademark perspective, HYDRO SILK is a great example of a suggestive mark: it hydrates your legs and makes them silky – yet the mark doesn’t say that directly. Still, I buy my razors at Costco, where the prices are unbeatable.
Next, Caldrea hand soap, in tiny sample sizes:
Yeah, hand soap. I am too practical a shopper to be sucked in by items like luxury hand soap. So this one doesn’t thrill me.
This “tinted lip conditioner” by Beauty Fixation confused me a bit.
So I went on their website, and I think I’m on to them: They’re selling pre-dipped cotton swabs to people too lazy to dip a Q-tip into the appropriate bottle or jar! Maybe the excuse is that these are good for travel, but in my view, it’s only going to add clutter.
Now, the one item actually targeted to my demographic:
I like the house mark, Osmotics. I also like that they actually provide some of the clinical studies that they say support their claims on their website, though I suspect my in-house false advertising expert would probably advise otherwise. And, I’ll certainly try the product, though my aforementioned thrift will likely prevent me from shelling out $58 for an ounce of it.
And finally, here’s where Birchbox failed with its demographic targeting this month:
Juicy? I don’t care if you add La Fleur to try to class it up; Juicy skews too young to go along with anti-aging products!

The cachet of English

When we were in Sicily, we were told that having an English business name is the way to impress locals. Here’s one example I found:

Yes, it’s a dog care store. And somehow I don’t think Mondo Cane would be a hit in the US the same way.
That English cachet appears elsewhere in Europe, but often makes less sense than the Italian example above. Here’s the cover of Lufthansa’s intra-European menu offering:
Was? “Nonstop you”? I don’t get it. 
The French are no better. Here, an ad for a juice drink:
“Be fruit”? No, that doesn’t work either. On the other hand, here we are in the country that came up with La Yogurt, so perhaps we’re not in a position to criticize.

Destination: Noto

Sicily is a vacation gift that keeps on giving – not just the wonderful memories and recipes, but the blogging material that I culled is well out of proportion to the nine days we spent there.

This ad for an upcoming blues festival performer that we found in a cheerful gelateria in Noto (the site of several other eye-popping finds, as you may recall) still blows my mind:
Do you think he chose this name because he’s rotund? Or do I have to post this again as a cautionary tale?

Destination: Marina di Ragusa’s finest caffè

Spotted in a cafe in Sicily:




See the ® symbol there? CAFE NOIR is registered in Italy for coffee and coffee shop services. So, French major, what does “café noir” mean? Why yes, it means “black coffee.” 

Now, is there any chance in hell that BLACK COFFEE could be registrable for coffee in the US? Of course there’s not, and trying to sneak a fast one past the PTO by stating that, for example, “caffè nero” means “coffee black,” rather than “black coffee,” thankfully, won’t fly. Look, if your client’s mark is a dud – descriptive or geographically descriptive – tell the client and save them the money, instead of fabricating definitions or feigning ignorance to the PTO. You’ll do us all a favor.

I’m not saying you should miss Caffè delle Rose in Marina di Ragusa, though. And take their cannoli, please, if you’re ever offered the leftovers:



Just take the claim of trademark rights con il beneficio del dubbio, as they say there.