When Something Is Allegedly “Too” Black: NPR Says African-Americans Are Keeping Moscato In Business. What’s Wrong With That?

July 5, 2013  |  

Source: WENN


NPR published a rather disturbing article on black people and Moscato last week. Even before reading the article, the title: Moscato Finds A Younger, Hipper — And Browner — Audience offered readers the notion that Moscato is not just any other wine. It is the wine for those who can be seen trying to save a dime and bumping Waka Flocka or Drake. It is not the wine for the upper-echelon, but for those who (supposedly) live check-to-check, inhabit communities that are crime infested, and are within an age group that is far from receiving AARP according to “research.” So how did Moscato become so popular to young people of color?

Well, you better thank hip-hop for that. We all know our favorite rappers are always promoting some type of liquor.  Snoop Dogg (or Lion) with Gin, Jay- Z with Cristal (that ended quickly) and even Busta Rhymes with Courvoisier.  Moscato was introduced to us by the likes of Drake, Lil Kim, Gucci Mane and Kanye West to name a few. Whenever rappers promote a brand of alcohol, it is because they are showcasing to their fans a peek inside their lavish lifestyles.  But not to throw shade, wine connoisseur and the author of  Moscato Finds A Younger, Hipper — And Browner — Audience, Sam H. Sanders tells us there’s nothing really lavish about Moscato:

Despite moscato’s popularity, the strange thing about hip-hop’s fascination with the beverage is that the wine is not at all high-end: It’s a relatively cheap white wine made from the muscat grape. Some of the very best bottles can cost less than $50.

The senior vice president of beverage/alcohol practice at Nielsen, Danny Brager, has been following the wine category for ten years. He states the variety of Moscato brands has doubled in the past three years. Given past marketing research, Brager expects that the sales of Moscato will grow 25 percent a year. Brager also informs us that the average wine drinker is white, prime of their senior citizen lives, and sitting comfy on their income. Brager states that such is not the case for Moscato drinkers.

“Much more African-American,” says Brager. “Much younger, much lower-income, much more female. Brager says African-Americans are three times more likely to drink moscato than some other table wine.

Sanders reveals to us:

Moscato is really sweet and has low alcohol content. Sweet enough and weak enough, in fact, to make a wine drinker out of anyone, which is why winemakers love it so much. People who don’t think of themselves as wine drinkers, who are intimidated by the idea of a wine tasting, who would never, ever try to search out “earthy tones” in a deep red — those people drink moscato, and they like it.

This statement is problematic. Sanders is using facts about the quality of moscato against the consumer. Instead of stating that he does not understand the fascination with Moscato and black people, his tone and perception becomes patronizing, if not, insulting. He is telling those who indulge in the wine that they are not “real” wine drinkers because they are investing in a current fad and they will never branch out to Pinot Noir, Riesling or Zinfandel because those wines are…intimidating (and expensive). Does Mr. Sanders know this many black people? If so, ask him to show you the receipts. He does know one, though, and observed her intently:

I found dozens of these moscato wine converts, like Quintasha Scorza. Scorza first sampled moscato while she was working at an Olive Garden restaurant. After that, she was hooked. She was at the winery with a group of girlfriends — all black — celebrating one of their birthdays. All of the women in the group — and many of the people in the winery — were drinking wines like moscato. Moscato is their gateway wine.

The problem with all this is the perception that black people making a public and financial investment in Moscato suddenly lessens its prestige or value. And it’s something we definitely buy into often. It’s as though the purpose of the piece was to have an “a ha!” moment at the expense of black folks who drink Moscato, to let them know that the joke has been on them:  it’s not strong, it’s not luxurious, and that way too many of us are fans of a weak and cheap drink. Thanks for the information, but what’s wrong with that? If you like Moscato, you like Moscato. But what often happens, and is a problem, is that when someone puts focus on the fact the black folks are buying a lot of a popular item like Christian Louboutins (“Red bottoms”), or a Moscato, some of us will automatically act like we’re all of a sudden too good for it.

“Oh I don’t buy Michael Kors bags anymore.” “I don’t do wedge sneakers anymore. It has become a hood trend.” There are black people right now who act like they’re no longer interested in drinking Moscato because everyone and their mama is up on it, and because it appears that it’s no longer the exclusive (dessert) wine you can impress folks with on date night or at a dinner party. Therefore, Moscato could become another fad people will soon ignore like the plague. But if you like something, despite who else is loving it, rocking it, drinking it–whatever–why stop? Why assume that because other black folks gain an appreciation for an item, the worth leaves it? Instead of letting folks tell us that too many black people like something to the point that we assume it’s losing what makes it high-end, we need to like what we like and stop jumping on so many fads in the first place that are costing us good money. If it’s that easy to turn your back on it, you might not want to buy it in the first place.

So will this societal trend leave us remembering good times or force us to look deep within ourselves and the internal racism we like to forget we have? You be the judge.

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  • Guest

    I love Moscato. I’m white, almost 40, and I don’t listen to a lot of Rap- I’ve never heard whatever song they’re talking about. I like it because it’s light, sweet, and easy to drink. I don’t like bitter or sour anything, wine or otherwise, so this is my preference. I know a lot of women that like it as well, all white. I don’t think it’s touted by rappers because they’re black or because it’s cheap. Maybe it’s just good? If anything it’s a foo-foo girly kind of drink. Do we have to classify everything? Geez.

  • How was the article disturbing again? It was barely opinionated it was simple FACTS. Sounds like YOU are the one feeling a way about liking Moscato because so many black people flock towards it.

  • Rita

    So i guess African Americans or African origin folks across the world can’t enjoy wine or soft wine for that matter. By the way is it law to be a connoisseur in order to drink anything, no it is for consumers to buy what they want, and wine makers or wine connoisseurs’s to worry about the other. I have been drinking wine for ages years still young and only do it now and then. I don’t need a rapper to tell me it is hot to drink it, I didn’t even know rappers where dropping wine verses, the only notice I paid to Moscato and current artist was only two weeks ago when I say the picture of Nicki’s campaign teaming with Mona Scott, and I thought wow home run. But there comes some hater trying to discredit or downplay it cause it will be a massive hit. Truth be told I come from a place with many factories and where the locals drink the strong stuff, that I personally do not care for, however sweet wine that is me, that is not to say I don’t like reds etc but I have a preference. I will rather artists like Nicki promote moscato’s and alco-pops than Hennessey’s etc as its not too strong considering their markets are to young people. I am not a Nicki fan but I was happy to see she went the softer route and it will make her coins. Here comes some idot with the theory because black people like it it will go down in stock, (should they be alcoholics instead, but hold on that would create another one sided article) how about saying popular young culture likes it at present.

  • Dear annoyed (or angry) black folks… the author of the NPR article is black. Have a nice day.

    • Rita

      If he’s black who cares still a silly man if he’s speaking for all. Glad to know he thinks his stock is so low things plummet. Just sad people with no assurance or believed everything else others told them. How about be happy its not vodka or beer and move on.

      • Rita

        If he looked further he’ll probably see that these guys choose consciously with their decisions to go the moscato route. Alcoholism sucks but lets have a little sip, its all poison at the end of the day but not everyone can handle any stronger, even if these guys take the strong stuff I applaud them for promoting less serious stuff. By the way I would rather Minaj promote Kors than Gucci, does Gucci have u on his runway. Isn’t Kors American and just a new Yorker who happen to make it, and does street or casual fashion, isn’t it affordable and trendy rather than overpriced nonsense and its all the same material, prada nada, or blonick whatever couldn’t care less.

  • Ciao99

    Some of the best wines in the world are from South Africa. Instead of supporting authentic African businesses, so- called “African”- Americans are supporting a cheap wine made in Italy just because of a hip -hop star’s endorsement. Trifling.

    • Samantha

      Tell it like it is. All the money out of our own community into the hands of others and how do we benefit? We get to ‘pose’ with cheap wine in our hands – oh whoopee!

    • Lana

      It might be worth checking into the racial politics of the South African wine industry. I don’t think you’ll like what you find…

  • Takisha

    The NPR article made moscato sound as if it was the new 40 oz and that is wrong on so many levels. After reading it, I came to the conclusion that “we” are the retail world’s side chick. They love making money off of us and enjoy having us around in secret, but are never proud to acknowledge us as consumers. The fact that a single group of people could cause the value of a brand to plummet says a lot more about the way that group is perceived by others. The article could have been framed differently. The writer used the low alcohol content and sweet taste to devalue the product and to imply that Blacks are drawn to an inferior product.

    We also take offense way too easily to the OPINIONS of others. As though our self-worth is based on the way we’re viewed by others and their opinions of us. I know for a fact that some of us will now stop drinking moscato, be embarrassed to admit we like it or now think that we’re too “good” for it ALL because of this article.

    I don’t feel the need to justify my taste to ANYONE. On that note, I’m going to pour myself a glass of moscato and enjoy a leisurely Saturday afternoon. Good day all!!!

    • monalisa15

      Well said. Thank you.

    • Alexis Morris

      that’s what i was thinking they were acting like it was the 40 oz of wine.

    • Ciao99

      Imagine if just 1% of Moscato’s new consumers spend that money supporting an African winery instead of a cheap Italian wine. That would improve the lives of so many people in Africa. What exactly does it mean to be African American when one supports European businesses and ignores Africa?

      • imadeamesss

        Marketing and Advertising campaigns (with black agencies -even better) may help tilt these consumers towards the African wineries. I didn’t realize until you made the point. I am sure there are others who are unaware as well.

    • Child_Puhleez

      *snaps in Z-formation* BOOM.

      You sure told our a55e5! Cheers! xD

  • ccpeachgal

    love love love Moscato !!! NPR can kick rocks !!!

    • Rita

      Am sure the writer would rather the women they are talking about drink that womb bursting stuff, when people write pointless articles like the one above it irks me.

  • Ashley

    A quick word on Michael Kors… I always loved the brand (and to be honest, I still do) but after Nikki Minaj mentioned it in a song the products changed. I couldn’t care less who wears what BUT the executives want to make money and if there’s a demand for a certain style then they will start to create more products that fit that style. It’s not about black or white (in this situation anyway) it’s a style thing. I just thank God they kept some of their original styles as well. I hate sneakers, I don’t care who makes them.

    • LesliePurifoy

      Michael Kors is now the new Coach bag. His brand is cheapening as well.

      • JMO

        Yeah gotta say I was pretty disappointed when it became a part of the fade. My mother always talked about MK bags as I was growing up. I like quality bags brand name or not. But MK bags were something I looked forward to buying once I was practicing law and being that “sophisticated lady”. Now that I’ve reached that point I see the knockoffs outside of the Atlanta Marta train station and Im soooo cool. I’ll just look for a quality bag that’s not overly gaudy. Something simple yet polished.

        • LesliePurifoy

          I agree. I just buy quality handbags that are simple and made of nice leather. I steer clear of fad items.

  • Child_Puhleez

    Though I’m a Riesling kind of gal, I’m curious of the purpose of this so-called report. I detected shade all over the place. So something automatically drops in value once Black people get their hands on it. Seriously?

    I won’t even bother wasting time looking up who this Sanders joker is. Pretty pathetic attempt at attaining legitimacy or notoriety, IMO. smh

  • imadeamesss

    I only drink whiskey. Kentucky straight bourbon is my fav. I like Black Label socially – not the other colored labels as I find them harsh. I don’t care who judges me about this, as it is what I like and at least my drink of choice can be just about me, no one else. I don’t have to share or trend set. Every minute of my day cannot mimic work. (I don’t work)

    I like to enjoy free time, stress-free.

    This writer who points out that young black females who drink Moscato not because they are into it or are growing as wine drinkers, maturing their palate and all but only to look good getting drunk and/or are using it as a gateway drug to harder substances because they born to be alcoholic, ought to be spanked. The writer sounds as if he looks down on blacks and that is not proper behavior.

    He may be correct in his observations but how dare he comment on a group outside of his own, in that manner on an issue as trivial as personal decisions about alcohol. In other words, what he is saying is; instead of worrying about looking good while drinking, these women would be better served by (saving the entire black race) getting their lives together financially, socioeconomically etc. so that blacks can have a better black society.

    He is not the law on how black women should behave. We live in America and we can do as we please. Because who gives a bloop about what a bunch of black women drink?!

    Is he angry that black stars can move product or that they have good endorsement deals? (They should show their agents this article and up their brand.) Is he angry at that muscat grape? Is he angry because snobby self-important wine swirlers everywhere have reveled in their glee for decades but the market barely ripples?

    I can hear it now: Here comes these low-class people copying well-heeled wine swishers by drinking Moscato and getting huge market response, putting more money into the pockets of their endorsers. Don’t those poor people have a protest to organize?

    All that needs to happen now is for the cheap wine industry to pow wow and decide to up the price of all Moscato ’cause blacks are using it wrong. Those damn blacks, always getting us in trouble. Now no one anywhere can enjoy a glass of cheap, fermented grape juice.

    BTW, great article, well researched, well written. And, classism is the word you want to use for this intraracial phenom of black flight from whatever lower-class (caste) blacks financially support, responding to advertising, marketing and trend. (celeb endorsements)

    We are a nation of rich and poor snobs. Blacks are brand loyal, great supporters of their fav artists and we like to create envy. If we could somehow morph these qualities to better serve the entire black community through business innovation – which leads to wide-spread job growth, blacks capturing a greater portion of the advertising and marketing dollar across the board and more black-on-black business deals- we would be a nation of smart snobs.

  • Fair and Balanced

    Racist or not it is generalization of a whole race as usual however the question is are they telling the truth? I think not due to the generalization its starts out as all Blacks then it goes to young hip hop following Blacks which is it all Blacks or just a selected group of Blacks? In any case we as a people still appear as less than stellar in comparison to every other race but what else is new.

  • Oenophile

    I am a 43 yr old white woman. I like moscato. A lot. I also like a good, dry “hearty” red, such as rioja, malbec, or shiraz. The writer doesn’t seem to understand that moscato has a broader appeal, and people who like it can also like other varietals.

  • LesliePurifoy

    We have a tendency to run brands into the ground. There are brands that don’t like being associated with rappers and the urban community. Remember, Cristal champagne? When they spoke out about not really desiring the large urban following that they had, rappers immediately stopped drinking it. Jay-Z actually created his own brand, Ace of Spades. We need to learn that everyone does not have a “hood” mentality and does not want to be associated with urban markets. I don’t drink but I know that it is a dessert wine and not highly regarded among wine enthusiasts.

    • monalisa15

      Well it were not for the hood and rappers Mascato would still b earning about 60 million a year instead of the 600 million they are making now. Diversity and exposing a product to a more diverse demographic its great for businesses who do so. The only people complaining are snobs and people who hate that hip hop and the black community are so influential. The wine makers are happy as hell.

      • LesliePurifoy

        I agree these companies like the money that the urban market brings but they don’t always like the association.

    • Rita

      Who is we?

      • LesliePurifoy

        The hip-hop generation. Remember Gucci and Louis Vuitton car interior? Or the new fascination/trend with Christian Louboutin “red bottom” shoes? The reality is for all of the money that black consumers spend, many of these brands really do not want or appreciate our patronage.

        • Rita

          Gucci and Louis Vuitton interior were simply horrendous and were done by some street dudes not all black people. And besides their patterns were horrid but in America it is called custom made and some people there tend to do that with everything, you either find it creative or annoying if you are the designer of a pattern or it teaches you to expand or add another idea to your arsenal. I mean even ms obourne had knock off LV’s. The fact is not all black consumes are stupid, some will spend 600 on purse some wouldn’t. If people want to copy their favourite entertainers good luck they will grow out of it or be out of pocket trying. Those things have never appealed to me I don’t find them nice either and they are not in my target market so I skip them.

        • Rita

          Red bottom shoes I find tacky and simply work as a groupie statement to say yikes look what can I afford baller or screams buy me things of this price range. ~There are too many designers out here for people to be walking around like clones or investing in those who don’t target you.

          • LesliePurifoy

            I totally agree!

      • LesliePurifoy

        The hip-hop generation. Remember Gucci and Louis Vuitton car interior? Or the new fascination/trend with Christian Louboutin “red bottom” shoes? The reality is for all of the money that black consumers spend, many of these brands really do not want or appreciate our patronage.

  • LC

    …so the only person they could find was Quintasha… really?!

    • Guest

      I’m not saying anything, but I’m just saying . . . . .

    • Alexis Morris

      I know. smh. it’s sad… like they sought her out on purpose. Im suprised they didnt add other details like she lives at home with her mom, or she’s a single mom or both, other things that stereotype black females.

    • Ciao99

      And Quintasha worked at The Olive Garden. Not even an authentic Italian restaurant. People who know *real * Italian food do not eat that processed microwaved garbage.

  • Alexis Morris

    Some of you are commenting that we bring.down the quality of a product. How? Blacks buying something doesn’t change what the product is made of. Why cant we like something? White ppl have fads also. This article made me honestly sad. It implied imo that black people were drinking moscato stupidly believing they were doing something big time but actually they had some cheap low value stuff

    • LesliePurifoy

      A lot of people are drinking Moscato because some rapper talked about it. It is definitely a trend that will die once a new trend emerges. Remember Hpnotiq???

      • Alexis Morris

        I know ppl still drinking hypnotiq and moscato been out, now ppl are probably going to be ashamed to drink it now

        • LesliePurifoy

          No, I was talking about how popular Hypnotiq was due to urban marketing and product placement in artists’ videos. Just like every fad/trend, the popularity will eventually fade.

          • Alexis Morris

            all I know is my white bf’s white mama loves her some hypnotiq…. lol.

    • JMO

      I do feel the quality does decrease in some way. For instance, moscato is a bottle of wine. It’s generally found in the wine section chilled or shelved in a glass bottle. It can now be found in a big box in mini plastic bottles in the middle of the walmart aisle -__-

  • Soymilk Reid

    The way the economy is going, any company should be excited that anybody is willing to purchase their products. It is always about race with everything. Why can’t we just be consumers? How are the tracking who is buying the wine anyway?

    • monalisa15

      They are happy. Mascato sales have increased by 73 percent. If you read business articles the wine makers are pleased and thankful. Its the writers causing the drama.

  • Jennifer

    Oh well, we like what we like. Whomever doesn’t like, can just drop dead.

  • IllyPhilly

    Am I the only hasn’t heard a rap song promoting Moscato?

  • Pingback: When Something Is Allegedly “Too” Black: NPR Says African-Americans Are Keeping Moscato In Business. What’s Wrong With That? : Yahabari.com()

  • CC

    Businesses usually have a target consumer in mind because otherwise their product or service wouldn’t sell. I wouldn’t blame the celebrity for not selling promoting the product, I would blame the owner of the product for bad marketing charisma. Green money is green money. Go for the top or you’re only going to get what you asked for.

  • monalisa15

    So what low income black folk like Moscato. Are they not allowed to have a preferred brand of anything? Are they not allowed to buy wine which fits in their budget. The way the economy is today and how most black folks have zero net assets, everybody need to be drinking Moscato.

  • folamix

    I have never like Moscato, but then again I don’t like sweet wines

    • kierah

      Don’t care for it myself either. As a dessert wine, it’s way too sweet for just sipping over any meal. Give me Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or a nice Verdejo any warm summer night.

  • Ebby

    Yes, it is a fad and I dranked it too like everybody else but I have lost interest in this sweet wine that’s good for cake and pie. I prefer Pinot Grigio,Savingnon Blanc, good for pairing with meat. Anyway, there are MANY black folks these days going to the wineries for wine tasting. I don’t know where this writer got his info, maybe he should ck out different wineries beside wherever he tastes his wines. They love to have us there, live bands, wine tasting, plenty of venders, cheese, food and so much fun!!

  • Gimmeabreak78

    The problem isn’t that black people bring the quality of a product down. The problem is that we as black people are such hyper-consumers with low senses of self-worth that we think possessing the trend-du-jour INCREASES OUR VALUE. People who know who they are and are comfortable in their own skin don’t need to flaunt their consumer items to convince others of their value. Whether it’s Rick Ross bragging about his “Maybach” (which incidentally, isn’t even made any more) or any other rapper bragging about Gucci, etc, it just strikes me that many of these rappers and the people who emulate them are simply trying to cover up the shame of having grown up poor.

    • pickneychile

      Sooo true!!! I love the way you put that. Too many people (especially black people) tie their self worth to their possessions and what they can acquire. It’s a shame.

    • JMO

      TRUE TRUE TRUE!!! You put into words what I was trying to convey!

    • Samantha

      Exactly! Furthermore, why are we as a people always working so hard to make everyone else rich. How about supporting black business?!!

  • Reese

    It was over once Drake named dropped moscato. Once a rapper name drops something it has instant brand recognition to black people. I don’t think this was racist, the man was just stating facts.

  • JMO

    I have a love hate relationship for my people because unfortunately when we get a hold of a product a lot of times the quality plummets. Now there’s nothing wrong with blacks having certain things we all prefer or what not but I hate the overkill of a product. For instance Ralph Lauren used to be more of a prep/yacht boy look. Now you see some guys in it with sagging pants and fake gucci belts. Stuff like that is what turns me off a product. But let me also state that when I see the masses (any color) flocking to buy any product I tend to turn away from it. (for the most part)

    • Reese

      I still rock my Ralph Lauren just not the Polo Ralph Lauren. It’s a classic brand and it will go out of style with “us” soon enough.

  • Mina

    I did sense the racist shade he was throwing in this article. I loved Muscato from the first time it was offered to me at an Italian restaurant (Dolce) by a white waiter, before the “fad”. I will continue to drink Muscato because I love the sweet taste bottom line. I do experiment with other wines but I’m not fond of the bitter taste. I think you guys gave this man, who NOBODY is familiar with by the way, unnecessary press time. We will acknowledge what he has to say when we can find him on Google. Next———->

    • IllyPhilly

      *internet high-five*

  • Guest

    I have a love hate relationship for my people because unfortunately when we get a hold of a product a lot of times the quality plummets. Now there’s nothing wrong with blacks having certain things we all prefer or what not but I hate the overkill of a product. For instance Ralph Lauren used to be more of a prep/yacht boy look. Now you see some guys in it with sagging pants and fake gucci belts. Stuff like that is what turns me off a product.

  • Say What?

    I detect the slightest bit of shade and/or racism any and everywhere and this one is obvious. There was no need for the article to begin with, but to make it and say that it was for “browner people” is highly unnecessary. I understand that many writers feel the need to be edgy, but I’m tired of them race baiting and then acting defensive when called out.

  • Kenedy

    I don’t detect the “racist” tone in that statement. Its correct in that Moscato is a low-end brand & that the people who drink it (who mostly happen to be black) are doing it because its a fad because musicians mention it in their songs & that anyone who is a wine connoisseur would know better than to think they are fancy because of drinking Moscato.

    • ..

      Thank you. There wasn’t a word in that article that wasn’t true. They
      may not have liked the tone of the article, but that’s their problem.
      To call it “disturbing” is so hyperbolic. Plus, apparently the author is black which renders this whole article

    • STFU

      I’ve never even heard a song that promotes Moscato, but I don’t listen to much rap to be honest. I’ve never heard of anyone purchasing something because it was referred to in a rap song.

      My friends and I like it because it’s sweet. What’s wrong with that? As college students with limited budgets, we also appreciate that many Moscato wines are fairly inexpensive.

      Why can’t people like what they like?

      This is straight up racism AND classism. If black people or poor people are associated with something, it’s automatically considered “ghetto” and thus low quality, unclassy etc. It’s like, the things that white, rich men are supposedly associated with are the gold standard that everyone else seems to be falling over themselves to get to. God forbid the wine I drink or the way I speak or the things I like are too “black,” or too girly, or too affordable for poor people.

      • Thaalia

        Honestly the article is more classist than racist imo. But im not fazed by it, classism based off of a weak alchoholic drink? There are bigger things to worry about.