The actor-singer-turned-wine writer Oz Clarke once told me about a conversation he'd had with the producer of a play he was in. Clarke had asked for a few free tickets for his parents and friends, and the producers had refused, on the sensible grounds that "if the people who know and love you won't pay to see you perform why should anybody else?".
That conversation sprang to mind when I looked at the number of views recorded by some of the wine videos on YouTube. My friend Damien Wilson drew my attention in particular to a set of films produced by the Center for Wine Origins.
The Center's "many activities [are] aimed at educating [US] consumers, policymakers and the media about the importance of keeping wine labels accurate." and "offering better resources for consumers so that they are able to make informed choices when selecting their wines." It is funded by the producers of Champagne and Port, two regions with plenty to say for themselves, and by the governments of France and Portugal and the EU.
Some of its funds - under $60,000 per year, apparently - go towards lobbying. Some - quite a lot, I'd guess - is spent on making professionally produced video clips with titles like "why origin matters".
Presumably origin really matters to the Center and the people who work for it. The films might also matter to the people who made them, and the ones who feature in them.
Except that, to judge by the number of people who've actually viewed these films on YouTube and Vimeo, it seems as though they don't.
The - frankly miniscule - viewing figures revealed below are actually higher than they might have been. They include Damien Wilson and myself, and the audience at the EWBC conference to whom we showed them. In fact, of the 24 people who have watched "Why Location Matters" on YouTube in nearly a year, half were directed to it by us.
Now you might like to compare these figures with this:
Some readers of this post may of course prefer the Center for Wine Origins style of video; taste is subjective after all. Our audience at the EWBC hated it; they loved Paso Wine Man and were cross with us for cutting it short (yes, we're responsible for some of those 89,727 views too - just not quite so high a proportion of the total).
There's a lesson here for anyone who wants to learn it...