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FOUNDER MOLLIE OPENSHAW CHALLENGES US 'SKINNYGIRL' CULTURE

‘Make fun of the menopause!’ with Mood Swing Merlot from Hot Flash Wines

By Ben Bouckley+

29-Apr-2014
Last updated the 29-Apr-2014 at 18:59 GMT

‘Why not celebrate, laugh at, and even make fun of the challenges that the menopause brings?’ asks California’s Hot Flash Wine, which opposes America’s Skinny Rita diet drink culture.

Launched in January, with probably the wackiest positioning we’ve ever seen in the straight-laced wine world, Chico-based Hot Flash encourages women to “celebrate not commiserate” over the menopause.

Vintages available to buy online - sourced from a Lodi wine broker - include the cheekily named Mood Swing Metlot, Zin-O-Pause and Covers off Chardonnay ($16.99-18.99/bottle), all of which Hot Flash pulled the cork out of at a launch party in January.

Founder Mollie Openshaw (pictured) told BeverageDaily.com this morning that she was irritated by images of women that suggest being skinny or dieting incessantly was the only way to enjoy life as a woman.

“We’re bombarded by Skinnygirl [the Beam Inc brand fronted by Desperate Housewives star Bethany Frankel] which thinks we should be diet conscious. But sorry, women who are going through menopause, pre-, post- whatever are not exactly skinny!” she says.

Dispelling menopausal doom and gloom

“And if we are there’s something wrong with us. That market is not desirable to a lot of women in that particular age category,” she adds.

“It’s a novelty line of wines for women that can make any woman out there happy. But I’m really building on an emotion too, because there’s a lot of doom and gloom associated with menopause,” Openshaw explains.

“We’re just embracing it, taking it on the chin and making it really fun for women, and the wine is really good,” she says, adding that Hot Flash is not concerned about selling diet-conscious drinks.

Openshaw insists that she hasn’t had any negative reactions to the wines or the positioning to date – there are sure to be some in the straight-laced world of wine – and praises the support she’s received from people who’ve “embraced the beauty of the product”.

“I think women and men really enjoy the vibe and the fun with it,” she says.

‘First-time wine drinkers go crazy for the Zin!’

Taste-wise, Openshaw says she was never a red wine drinker before she developed Hot Flash as a brand, having stuck to Chardonnay and sweeter wines.

“I don’t know if I’ve got older and my tastes have changed, but when I started doing tastings, and seeking out good wine, I really didn’t want any of my reds to be offensive to first-time red drinkers.

"So all three wines I have so far are easy on the palate, easy to enjoy,” she says.

“A lot of first-time wine drinkers went crazy for the Zin [Zinfandel] in particular,” she adds.

“A lot of my younger friends were starting to go through the menopause with a lot of crazy symptoms – when we enjoyed wine and laughed at crazy things, and it just evolved,” Openshaw says.

 “I have more wines coming this year and a Champagne at well,” she adds, revealing that Hot Flash is currently completing its UPC bar codes to achieve listings in local markets and grocery chains.

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