While looking at the back label of a wine my wife received in one of her club shipments, I recently learned about Boontling – the obscure American English dialect which has 1,300 unique words and originated in the 1800s in Anderson Valley’s Boonville.
I’ve recently been speaking with a winemaker friend (not operating in the Central Coast) about improving the visibility and success of his brand. This made me think of one key fact: in a landscape where everyone makes as much noise about themselves as possible, being understated is going to present problems in one’s ability to compete. By extension, being conventional makes one prone to getting lost in the noise or being overshadowed by more distinct and unique branding.
The same can be said for wine writing. Of course, nothing can replace knowledge and substance, but knowledge and substance dressed sharply for the occasion can make for success.
With however many hundreds or thousands of wine blogs and columns in existence, a person setting out on the wine writing journey may be well-served to consider a hook, a shtick.
Which brings us back to Boontling:
Imagine, for a moment that you are a budding blogger in Anderson Valley (or one in Peoria, AZ who loves Anderson Valley wines). A tight regional focus is good. But why not commit fully to promoting Anderson Valley’s culture and heritage?
Or maybe you are a wine blogger living in Philo, California, and want to write about all kinds of wines. Why not tap the resource of your local heritage and give your writing a unique personality and voice?
Admittedly, Boontling is esoteric. Sure it can be a bit… um…. ribald, with a surprising proportion of its words dealing either with fighting or with the act of copulation (or other sexual acts, legal or otherwise). But consider, for a moment, this wording for a review:
“This tuddish Frati is a Bill Nunn that only an applehead might like. Drinking it makes me so can-kicky, I want to get my equalizer and…” (click here to translate)
The dialect doesn’t have to be that thick. A few Boontling turns of phrase in strategic places would give a review or article some flair. If nothing more, this kind of writing would keep the readers looking at the web site longer.
Certainly, anyone taking on this kind of endeavor would have to research the matter extensively. Their web site would have to either offer links to resources with which a reader could translate the lingo, or offer its own resources to help the reader accomplish the same. A little work for the sake of branding can be a good thing.
This approach could be used in wine branding, as well. There must be at least one word in those unique 1,300 which could be used to brand a wine label. I’m pretty sure the lingo could be utilized either in branding specific bottlings, as part of a label’s design element or as colorful back label text or all of the above.
From what I have learned about drawing attention to one’s web site, a few pages offering information on Boontling; its history or even a glossary of some terms would be a very useful and distinct marketing devices.
The world is full of ideas and products vying for consumer attention. A nail that sticks out gets hammered, but a well-developed gimmick can serve their master well.
It’s just a free idea. Take it for what it’s worth.
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