Remember that scene in Ratatouille when Chef Skinner is scheming about his line of frozen food products sporting Gusteau's likeness? ("Gusteau's already has a face, and it's fat and lovable and familiar. And it sells burritos! Millions and millions of burritos!") That's what comes to mind when I see this:
I'll give them credit for being honest: the Newman's Own Foundation motto, "Shameless exploitation in pursuit of the common good", is right there in bold letters at the top of their Web page. No surprises here. And the concept behind their products - organic goods, with all the proceeds going to charity, some $250-plus million thus far - is laudable. So why mess with a good thing? I've tried the dressings; they're pretty good.
But I'm not sure I can wrap my head around a Newman's Own wine. I see that face, I think of vinegar. I think of mass-produced, factory-made and high in sodium. Do I want that in a wine? Alice Feiring (whose book, How I Saved the World from Parkerization, I'm still busting a gut over) had a scathing review of the wines on her blog. Elsewhere in the winosphere, it's become the butt of many jokes and ridiculed in articles bearing heavily clichéd titles. Doesn't exactly instill confidence.
This Saturday's Vintages release includes Newman's Own 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. (It also has a bunch of really worthwhile items for purchases, including the Ravenswood Old Vines 2006 Lodi Zinfandel I fell in love with at the California Wine Show.) Will I be buying any? Doubt it. But since you can't judge a wine by its label, if it shows up on my doorstep, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.