Here is another excerpt from the recently discovered ancient Chinese manuscript The Art of Wine by Foo Yu. At the rate presales are happening, it looks like the entire book is going to get reprinted here.
Chapter 9: Camouflage
It is not practical to attack a customer and force him to hand over his hard-earned yuan in exchange for a bottle of wine that he may not want. A physical attack is the most difficult means to defeat the consumer, as it deploys the most resources, carries the most risk, and may backfire if the customer is skilled at martial arts.
Deception is a much more efficient method of winning over the consumer, so much to the point that the consumer doesn’t even realize a battle has taken place and he has lost.
Ga Cha provided me with the perfect means to demonstrate this principle.
Ga Cha, in his usual distressed state, ran up to me babbling about a current crop of grapes that he feared were too diluted to make wine suitable of a character that would sell successfully.
After calming him down, I explained to him that all was not lost. I then fetched a particular vessel of wine from my dwelling for him to sample.
First was the swirl then the sniffy sniff. “Mmmm,” hummed Ga Cha with a broad grin on his face. “This smells good.” He then drank some and proclaimed it to be very rich and full, a very powerful wine.
“You like?” I asked him.
“Oh yes, Master Yu, I like. But what does this have to do with my dilemma? I have very poor grapes this season and here you pull out wine made from very fine grapes for me to sample. I don’t understand.”
“You never do,” I sighed. “The grapes used in making this wine were some of the most miserable, diluted little fellows you can imagine. Yet, as your nose and tastebuds told you, they still made wine that you enjoyed.”
“How can that be?” asked an astonished Ga Cha.
“Let me tell you,” I said as I leaned over to whisper in his ear. “Plastics. Oh, wait, that won’t be invented for centuries. What I meant to say was, ‘new bamboo.’” I moved away from his ear and looked at him with a wink.
“New bamboo?” repeated Ga Cha. He sniffed the wine again and a look of recognition spread across his face. “Yes, I smell it. There’s lots of bamboo in this wine.” He drank some more. “The pandas are not going to be happy that you used so much of their treasured bamboo to make this wine.”
“Panda schmanda,” I said. “Let them open a restaurant if they don't like it. That’s the secret. You let the wine sit in new bamboo for a long time and that overcomes the effects of a poor crop. That’s half of it.”
“Half? Whasee udder half?” Asked Ga Cha, starting to slur his words. “Wow, I feel kinda woozy Master. I better siddown.” He plopped down in a chair.
“That’s the other half,” I told him. When the wine was fermenting, I dumped a lot of rice flour in the bamboo vats. That raised the alcohol level much higher than normal. Doesn’t that wine just keep tasting better and better with each sip?”
“Yur durn right, Yaster Mu,” he said as he swayed back and forth, giggling.
“There you have it,” I said. “This wine came from one of the worst crops in the Xian Valley and yet, you seem to think it’s great.”
“Xian Valley?” exclaimed Ga Cha, suddenly sobering up. “I’ve had lots of wine from Xian and none of them tasted like this. They all have a clay-type taste. There’s always a telltale terra cotta aspect to the wines from that area! Wha hoppin’?” He asked with a bewildered look. “There’s no terra cotta here.”
“You know wha hoppin’” I said. “New bamboo and lots of alcohol. Do that with that crop you were worried about and you’ll worry no more. You’ll have people beating down your walls for your wine.”
“Master Yu, you the man!” declared Ga Cha. “You saved me again!”
Ga Cha no longer had to chase people in the street and shake them down to buy his wine. They started coming to him because of the big, bold, Genghis-Khan-attacking-hordes character of his wines that made them return for more. These consumers had been won over and they didn’t even know there was a battle going on.
And that was an excerpt from chapter 9.
Hey, today is a milestone for OneWinePerWeek: Post #100!