The quality of wine should always come first. / REUTERS

Unfair competition

No matter the current circumstances, the quality of a product must always come first

ANDREW J. LINN

Most reputable winemakers bust their guts to make as good a wine as they can. They want their reputations to hang on the market's acceptance of their efforts, and economic considerations may come in second. The quality of the product has priority over everything else.

Is it reasonable therefore that a superb, well-made, decently-priced wine should have to take a back seat to some manufactured celebrity-tagged invention? The situation is an insult to all serious winemakers. But isn't the public free to drink this rubbish if it wants to? Possibly, providing it understands that its main purpose is to slake a thirst, look good on the table, impress one's friends, and pad the profits of the creator.

The sales of pop princess Kylie Minogue's wine brand are currently the fastest-growing in history, having exploded by a meteoric 314%. Last year Minogue's Prosecco rosé became a top wine brand after only 10 months in the stores. The new 'celebrity-first' procedure involves selecting someone like Minogue, Gordon Ramsay, Ian Botham, or whichever footballer is currently top of the league, and tailoring a usually mediocre wine product to the purpose.

What wine is used? In Minogue's case we are not told, but a red wine sold under Take That singer Garry Barlow's name is allegedly "made from 100% Tempranillo, with the grapes harvested in Castile at night".

Welcome to the new world of vino, where wine is not chosen by the name of a bodega or a region or the vintage, but according to the celebrity's name on the label. A bottle of Kylie please.