Done with Animal Wine


I had a long heart to palate talk with myself this long weekend and came to a consequential conclusion:

I’m done with cheap, cute-animal-labeled, wines.  I’m done drinking them. I’m done thinking about them. I’m just done.

I was in a grocery store with a pretty good wine department looking for something to drink by the pool. All of a sudden I realized I was in a zoo: Kangaroos, emus, reptiles, bears…I was surrounded by what seemed like scores of animals.

Now, I’ve had these "critter wines" before, just never on purpose. As I looked around I realized they were everywhere. It was a conscious decision to buy them this time. I wanted to test them out together.  Put them all in a pen, as it were, and give them a ride.

In front of me were 10 different, very very cutely labeled wines, none of which cost more than $10. I popped the cork on each of them and began to assault my palate.

Animal Dung!

Flat, simple, cloying, jammy, one-dimensional animal dung. All of them. Bad Aussie wine. Bad American wine. Bad Chilean Wine. Bad New Zealand wine.

Bottom line: I’m 43 years old. I don’t drink enough wine to shrug off the bad ones. So, I made a pledge: for the rest of my life I will not buy a cheap wine with an animal label on it.

I suppose this kind of crap has been around for a long time. It has been labeled in a variety of ways too. But it seems now that there is a certain purpose involved in creating cute swill. That purpose is the American palate. Yea yea yea….it’s a good thing that by caving in to mediocre cravings more people are drinking wine and being drawn to wine.

But the other revelation is this: Not only will I not every buy one of these Wallaby-Wines again, given the opportunity to work for a producer of one I will decline…no matter what the money is.

Life is just too short.


4 Responses

  1. Lenn - September 5, 2006

    Right on, Tom! I’m actually writing a column about this myself…they really are everywhere…and it seems like very animal you can think of is being used to sell wine these days.
    Just say NO to Zoo Wines!

  2. peaches - September 5, 2006

    I come back from Burning Man and reached for a bottle of wine. But where did the cute ones go? Tom cleaned house. No more one-dimensional-cute-animal-wines for me apparently anymore. BANNED FOREVER FROM THE WARK HOUSE. A sad sad day for me.

  3. tom merle - September 5, 2006

    Might you be singing a different song, Tom, if you had a client who had the name of an animal as one of it’s wines? Just like your support of terroir (territory is still a better name) might be diminished if Appelation America weren’t a client.
    Isn’t there an inherent problem for the sanctity of blogging and flacking projects, people, and services?
    But then I’ve always wondered about the (non) separation of Church and State between Free the Grapes and Benson Marketing. I think you should request that FtG put the Ex.Dir. position out to bid again so you and Paige Poulos and Paul Wagner and Paul Tinknell, etc. can apply…
    Your chum in Napa

  4. mrben - October 27, 2007

    I wonder how are animals are related to wines.

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