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18/02/2016

d’Arenberg accused of sexism over wine label

A POPULAR South Australian winery has been accused of sexism over a new label that refers to “three young blondes”, but the winemaker says it’s just humorous marketing.

D’Arenberg’s new $200 red, “The Old Bloke and the Three Young Blondes”, takes its name from a blend of grapes from old shiraz vines with those of three younger white varieties, but leading wine commentator Jane Thomson says this is an example of “everyday sexism”.

After receiving trade information about the new wine from the winemaker, the founder of the 5000-member Fabulous Ladies Wine Society posted her views on her Facebook page, prompting responses both for and against her view.

“I just think it’s another case of everyday sexism in practice,” she posted.

She said later that “I know what it (the name) is referencing, and from their side it seems like it’s all very innocent, but you have to know that.

“I had to ask myself what would this mean if you didn’t know the background.

“I was more intrigued than upset, but it did make me wince.

“There’s an assumption that kind of language is acceptable, so I had to ask the question.”

“I’m just raising the question that it seems like it’s the natural frame of reference to frame our language in this way,” she said.

“I absolutely wasn’t upset, but I am always ready to raise the flag and say I think this is the moment to talk about it.”

D’Arenberg winemaker Chester Osborn and the McLaren Vale company are not new to label controversies, having been forced to change the name of sparkling wine DADD because of its similarities to that of champagne label MUMM. The d’Arenberg wine is now called Pollyanna Polly.

The colourful Mr Osborn reacted to the latest issue in his usual laid-back manner, claiming there was never any intention to offend with the naming of the wine, which he claimed was entirely legitimate considering its varietal makeup and the history of his company’s labelling.

“The old bloke refers to very old-vine shiraz, and the blondes refer to the young white wine varieties in the blend,” he said, adding that the creation of such labels was a process akin to art.

“Most of our label names are pretty crazy and have some humour in them. This one fits in the same boat.”

The online debate ramped up further on Wednesday after several Facebook followers Googled the name of the wine to see if any further discussion was occurring.

They found that the search brought up the d’Arenberg wine on a page occupied by hardcore porn sites.

One respondent, Jessica Brown, posted: “Apart from the sexism, it’s just XXX Google results as well — not what you want aligned with your brand.”

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