Yellow Tail Wine Orchestra – Event Review, May 31st, 2012

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of interviewing Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea (catch the entire interview here) however my purpose in being there was more as a blogger at a great wine event, for a great cause.  Hosted by the wonderful people at Yellow Tail Wines and iYellow Wine Club me and 100+ other happy patrons were treated to wine, music, and good times… all for charity.  Yes the charity angle was a great one and that is what brought Alan and the Yellow Tail folks together.

It is actually a great concept both from a philanthropy and marketing perspective for Yellow Tail.  It’s called the Yellow Tail Wine Orchestra.  What they are encouraging people to do is upload a video of themselves making music using wine glasses, wine bottles, etc.  The videos are shared on the Wine Orchestra page and via Facebook.  For every upload or share on Facebook Yellow Tail donates $1 to the Unison Benevolent Fund.   That’s where Alan Doyle comes in.  The Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance program for musicians created by musicians.  It is designed to provide relief to music industry personnel in times of personal hardship or crisis.  In a passionate opening speech by Alan himself you could tell it was a cause close to his heart and to that of many musicians.  Personally I was quite content drinking wine to support it.  I strongly encourage you to check out the Yellow Tail Wine Orchestra site, there are some very enjoyable and creative videos on there.  If you get two seconds upload your own as well and consider it your $1 donation to the Unison Benevolent Fund.

Now although the event was focused on music and charity there was wine there… Yellow Tail wine.  I am a wine writer and as such I try to be as objective as possible.  So here’s the deal… I am not a big fan of Yellow Tail Wine.  As I have documented on here before Australian Shiraz (which is their most popular wine) is simply not one of my personal favourites, whether made by Yellow Tail or any other producer.  Even beyond that though, Yellow Tail wines have never appealed to me.  However I realized on Thursday that Yellow Tail must be doing something right.  In fact they do a lot of things right as since their beginning in 2001 they have risen to become the #1 bottled wine exported from Australia.  They are hugely popular in Canada, they are a lock as a general list at the LCBO, and they are inexpensive.  After meeting the folks from Yellow Tail on Thursday I think I know why they have achieved that success.  They make very approachable wines.  Their target market is not the connoisseur segment or the wine critic.  Their segment is the everyday consumer who may be fearful of the big boys from France and Italy and who may not understand what they heck they’re drinking in those bottles anyways.  To that segment Yellow Tail wines make sense.  Plus as evidenced on Thursday night they are a marketing powerhouse.  The event was wonderful and the concept of the Yellow Tail Wine Orchestra is simply genius.  They even came equipped with a video truck where guests could create and upload their video on the spot.  All for a good cause.

To kick it off Alan performed “I’ve Seen a Little” off his new solo disc “Boy on Bridge” as well as the Great Big Sea classic “Ordinary Day” to a packed audience at Bang Bang Bar on College street.  The bar was a bit small but it was packed and had the key element that every good event needs, an audience who were there to have a good time.

So even as a wine writer and a critic of Yellow Tail wines this event proved that sometimes you just need to take a step back and have a good time.  Check.

– Mark
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman

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