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What’s in a Name? Weird Wine Names

At a wine tasting event last night, I struck up a conversation with some wine lovers about the increasingly popular trend of wacky wine names.  Winemakers of yesterday tended to try and convey tradition and elegance with their wine names, often by using the name of the winemaker or the area of production.  Think of the classic Dom Perignon, which was named after the Benedictine monk who pioneered the production of champagne.  But today, more and more of these classic-style names are being replaced by something new, fresh…and a little odd.

Here are a few of the strangest-named wines out there right now:

  • Educated Guess, a cabernet sauvignon
  • Fat Bastard, a chardonnay
  • Bitch, a grenache
  • Arrogant Frog Ribet Red, a cabernet sauvignon/merlot blend
  • Frog’s Piss, a French red table wine
  • Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush, a sauvignon blanc
  • Mad Housewife, a cabernet sauvignon

The wacky-name trend is something we’re seeing more and more of these days, especially amongst the lower-priced bottles.  One reason is that there are just so many different kinds of wine out there now.  When faced with a wall of bottles, the wine shopper is only going to notice something that stands out.  Creative, eye-catching names can help get the wine off the shelves and to the check-out.

Winemakers are also attempting to bring a little whimsy into their field with this trend.  Wine, long the territory of the wealthy, has over the last few decades extended its territory to the middle class.  This new naming trend is self-deprecating, lightening up the field and making it more accessible.  Jerry Prial, who makes a wine called Debauchery, says, “I’m a big believer in the theater of the mind.  People – when they see the wine, they really start to laugh and they smile, and that’s what we wanted.”

What do you think?  Do names like Frog’s Piss and Fat Bastard make you wince, or do you think funny wine names are just good marketing?

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