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In Vino Veritas

The title of today’s blog is a very famous Latin phrase, which translates to English as, “in wine, there is truth”.  I’m not a big wine drinker, but I am drawn to the variety of labels (as well as wines) out there.  Truth be told, half a glass of red wine will knock me on my ass, but that story is for another time.

I recently found myself perusing the wine shelves at the local supermarket and was amused by the labels and names some of these companies use to try and entice their consumers.  I imagine that wine is very much like a book, rarely do the contents match the unique cover.  Unfortunately for me, I do still judge books by their covers, so if I drank wine I would definitely invest in some of these clever titles.

The Velvet Devil. A nickname I have used when describing the female anatomy. I wonder how smooth this one goes down?

Plungerhead. The artwork on the label reminds me of Monty Python, a Modest Mouse video and the Guinness commercials with the two men exclaiming, “BRILLIANT!” all combined.  I want to drink copious amounts of this wine and watch “The Holy Grail” while averting my eyes.

7 Deadly Zins. Now this is just a very clever play on words. I wouldn’t buy this just for that reason alone…okay, I’d buy two bottles.

Rolling Stones Forty Licks. This aged wine is younger than the band’s most relevant album…by 25 years, but at least the band is still together and producing mediocre music and mediocre wine…

…unlike these guys. The Police Synchronicity. I am holding out for the Men at Work cabernet.  How does UB40 not have a vintage yet?…

…or these guys. Grateful Dead Steal Your Face. I wonder how many thousands of bottles they sold just because of the logo?  Dead heads and Parrot heads…I will never understand.

Pennywise. I was hoping this was produced by the band with the same name, but instead is a reference to being frugal. Darn…punk rock plus cheap wine could equal amazing! The Ramones house red…the possibilities are endless.

The Big Red Monster. Like most gingers, this wine has no soul…so don’t feel bad when you kill the bottle.

Petite Petit. The label is an oxymoron, similar to the terms jumbo shrimp or good cheap wine.

The Ball Buster. I love the name, but I don’t have a clever caption for this one. I tend to be a bit more sensitive when balls and busting are in the same sentence, as well as the term “Basket Pressed” above the name. I’m just glad to see they didn’t go with an image for the label…they kept ball busting classy.

Hey Mambo. This made me think of Dean Martin’s version of the classic crooner song with the same title. Unfortunately, for some reason it also made my think of Lou Bega Jr’s, “Mambo No. 5″…NEXT!

Urban Ribera. Finally, some truth in advertising! This label says to me, “While backpacking through Europe, this person experienced more than they had intended to, ran out of money and now must spend their days panhandling for train fare or baguette money. All because they tried our wine.”

Menage a Trois. Although this isn’t exactly truth in advertising, it certainly is wishful thinking.

With hundreds of thousands of wine selections out there, this is just scratching the surface of the ingenious marketing techniques of the wine and spirit industry.  Wine bottle labels seem to be taking a page from brewers that bestow clever or obscene names onto their beers (Buttface Amber Ale, Hoptimus Prime, Moose Drool Brown Ale, etc).  I welcome this trend with open arms, but I don’t think we have pushed the boundaries far enough.  Let’s go even further and really try to appeal to the younger demographic, maybe introduce scratch and sniff labels or just use crayons to draw the desired visual.

It makes me want to become a sommelier just to find the most clever or unique brands.  Instead of carrying a tastevin around my neck (a small, shallow silver cup for tasting wines) I would have a monocle to inspect the labels closer.

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