Opinion Brief

9/11 Memorial Merlot: Tasteless?

A Long Island vinter is marketing wine to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the national tragedy — at the jarring price of $19.11 a bottle

A little wine with your remembrance? To coincide with the tenth anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, Lieb Family Cellars, a vintner from Mattituck, Long Island, is producing two varieties of 9/11 Memorial Wine — 9/11 Memorial Commemorative Merlot and 9/11 Memorial Commemorative Chardonnay. The price? A rather on-the-nose $19.11 a bottle. The wine sellers say that 10 percent of each sale will be donated to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which initially suggested that the vineyard produce the wine. Is the whole idea too crass?

Yes. This is "utterly tasteless": Ten years later, "we're still struggling to determine what is and is not an appropriate way to remember the tragedy," says Kim Conte at The Stir. But one thing's clear: This wine is just a ploy to "make a buck" off of a national tragedy. The concept makes little sense since uncorking a bottle is typically associated with celebration: "At what point in the day would it be appropriate to break out" the 9/11 vino?
"9/11 memorial wine is utterly tasteless"

Don't get too sour over this: "The link between tacky opportunism and tasteful remembrance is an ever-shifting one," says Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. Remember: It was the Memorial Foundation that first approached the winery with this idea — and $8,000 has already been raised. Some people just prefer to give back "with something you can serve with crackers."
"Is a 9/11 wine in bad taste?"

Besides, wine is only the tip of the barrel: Lieb Family Cellars is just one of many companies "jumping on the 9/11 bandwagon," says Abe Sauer at Brand Channel. State Farm and NASCAR will both air commercials tied to the tenth anniversary, while Best Buy is sponsoring a 9/11 Day of Service. Applebee's and gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson will sponsor a commemorative motorcycle ride. "This kind of capitalization may be in overdrive this year, but it is by no means unheard of."
"Brands see Sept. 11 anniversary as opportunity"

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