Why One of the Top Chardonnay Producers in the U.S. Is Thirsty for a White Wine Emoji

Kendall-Jackson is already one of the top-selling producers of white wine in the United States, but the Sonoma Valley winery is on another mission: to get an official “white wine emoji” on the books (and smartphones).

There are more than a few notes to this. Kendall-Jackson, established in 1982, says it has been “consistently” fielding inquiries from its customers about a white wine emoji.

The Chardonnay maker submitted a 15-page proposal earlier this summer for a white wine emoji, which was subsequently accepted for review by the Unicode Consortium, the governing body that coordinates and sets global coding standards for emoji.

“The existing wine glass emoji, depicted as a glass of red wine, does not properly represent one of the most popular and widely consumed adult beverages—white wine,” writes Lauren Svoboda, a senior brand manager for Kendall-Jackson, in the abstract of the proposal.

Next, for National White Wine Day—an unofficial (but seemingly official on social media, at least) marketing holiday on August 4—wine producers have created and promoted a variety of “WANTED” posters to share across social channels as a way of convincing the Consortium that there is a large white wine loving community out there that wants to see this happen.

White Wine Emoji
Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay

“They really see emojis as a way people communicate, and only offering a red wine glass and sparkling wine glasses, they think the category needs to be filled,” says Maggie Currey, director of marketing at Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, California. Reps for the winery also cite that twelve languages cover more than two-thirds of the world’s population, and that all 12 of those languages specify white wine. Not just wine, but white wine.

As Svoboda further defends in the proposal:

In its simplest form, it boils down to “are you a red or a white wine drinker?” We live in an era where the rise of post-truth has left people demanding clear communication and the desire to represent their identity. White wine is not just a popular category comprised of white wine grape varietals; it is a large part of people’s daily lives. This all-important beverage with ancient beginnings should be properly illustrated in our modern, international language of emoji.

While it might be easy to brush the idea of a white wine emoji off as something only skin deep, there have been a number of petitions to establish officially-recognized emoji reflective of shared interests and identities, whether they be iconography based on race, gender, career, sexual orientation, and even diet. Past proposals and additions to emoji libraries have seen the inclusion of more female icons in more professional roles, more emoji depicting same-sex couples, and more skin tones.

And those of are some of the more obvious emoji additions designed to promote inclusion and reduce a number of stereotypes prevalent in earlier, more limited emoji collections. Earlier this week, the swimsuit emoji—a pink and yellow polka dot two-piece bikini—has been called under review by Unicode as more women petition for an option other than the current (and arguably more sexualized) version.

In regards to wine culture, Svoboda argues that the lack of a white wine glass emoji inhibits self-expression.

“Since 6000 BC, wine has played a critical role for humanity. The beverage has a complex and venerable history that spans cultures, socioeconomic classes, rituals, and religions,” Svoboda writes, adding later that “the current wine glass emoji, representing a generic red, is an oversimplification. Different varietals and styles of wine are more popular during various occasions, meals, and even climates.”

Kendall-Jackson’s proposal included a mockup of what a potential white wine emoji could look like, which was reminiscent of the commonplace red wine emoji on iOS, Android, and social channels. While the report did not request an exact image, Kendall-Jackson suggested its design could be licensed for public use.

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