by Kevin Coupe

Forgive me. I’m going to wander into “all-you-kids-get-off-my-lawn” territory now.

Can’t help myself.

The Wall Street Journal had a story yesterday about how “winemakers, particularly in newer wine-producing countries like Australia and the U.S., are toning down discussions about tannins and terroir - and trying to outdo each other with wine nests, floating golf holes, climbing walls, petting zoos, strange museums and 35-foot-tall rabbit sculptures.” The reason? “Even a fancy restaurant or art gallery isn’t always enough to stand out or attract visitors to wineries these days, especially as many younger vacationers seek out increasingly unique experiences.”

One example: “The 35-foot-tall statue of a leaping rabbit at Hall Wines in Napa Valley … Called Bunny Foo Foo, the statue, visible from the highway, is actually a homage to the nursery rhyme that one of the winery owners used to sing with her children … The rabbit has sported illuminated antlers and a nose during Christmas, creating what some employees call Reindeer Foo Foo. When new Star Wars movies were released, a big lightsaber was placed in the front paw of the rabbit, then sometimes called Saber Foo Foo.”

Oy.

Look, I’m willing to accept some level of theatricality. I get balloon rides. Or wine blending lessons. I even like the idea of horseback riding through vineyards. (I really want to do that one of these days.)

But for me, it all needs to focus on the uniqueness of the product - these efforts ought to be aimed at opening people’s eyes and enhancing appreciation for the product, not distracting from it.

On the other hand, maybe that’s what is necessary to keep some of these vineyards alive and in business. If so, that’s an Eye-Opener … though I’m not happy about it.

Now, get off my lawn.