What’s In A Name


Fat Bastard…. (No, not me, the French wine)…. Plungerhead (so named because of its modern interpretation of the cork-the Zork)…Royal Bitch… Toasted Head…Gnarly Head…Bear Boat…Full Boat…Holy Cow…Moobuzz (by the same people as Plungerhead)…Red Truck (and Pink Truck)…Little Black Dress….Herding Cats….Goats Do Roam (an intentional mispronunciation of Cotes du Rhone)…Love My Goat….Black Cat….Red Cat…Fat Cat….Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush (from the same people who offer Sally Cat)…Red Bicyclette…7 Deadly Zins…Red Guitar…Menage A Trois (no, it doesn’t come in 3 packs)…Funky Llama….Cupcake…Layercake…Skydog….Bark Vineyards (which makes “wine” for dogs. I’m not making that up)…Victory Dog…Beach Dogs…

I’m sure there are lots I’m forgetting or don’t know about, odd or funny or creative wine names that is. I have a theory, though, one based on nothing-no evidence, no observation, just hypothesis:  That many purchase decisions in the wine store are based on the name or the label without any knowledge of the merits of the contents. The first purchase, that is. Obviously, if a consumer tries the Cat’s Pee because the name got their attention, and finds the name describes the smell or flavor, a repurchase is not likely. But, when folks walk the aisles of a big wine store, the number of choices can be overwhelming. Many folks will discover a wine through a restaurant, from having some at a friend’s house, or from some idiot who writes about wine in a blog, but often our intent upon entering a store is no more specific than “buy wine”. And the vibe induced by the label is about all we have to somehow choose from among the myriad. I wonder if there is a textbook, or a course at Napa Valley Community College, in wine psychology, how to achieve just the right degree of hipness, irreverence, sophistication, or snobbery in both the name and the label design. Based on the name alone (and the label with a picture of a guy with a plunger stuck to his head), I’d like to try Plungerhead Old Vine Zinfandel. But it’s around $15 a bottle, and I’m a cheapskate!

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One Response to What’s In A Name

  1. I’m just talking out of my hat (or lower), but I think it’s to appeal to what makes boomers buy. Cheap wines still took on names that sounded fancy, French-sounding or otherwise exotic inventions, and that was enough for my cheap parents. I was born in the 50s, and for my group and beyond funny commercials are expected. Entertainment on a label is value-added. I bought a bottle of Mad Housewife (pretty dreadful stuff) for that reason. I did enjoy Dead Guy Ale, however. I like your site. It’s tart without being overwhelmingly fruity.

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