Maybe they carry a celebrity’s name, or piggyback off a TV show. Regardless, there is almost no reason for these pop culture wines to exist other than to bamboozle the consumer
What do you do when you have lots of bulk wine (and know that the world is awash in bulk wine)? You make pop culture wine, whether named for a celebrity, TV show or movie, or something equally as wine-like. That the finished product is overpriced and of middling quality – at best – is irrelevant.
Not all celebrity wine is useless. The wines I’m writing about, though, don’t exist because the wine is worth drinking. They’re made because the grapes are cheap and the margins are high, and they get a lot of free ink, cyber and real, from the non-wine media.
Because, as I have written many times before, the scam’s the thing when it comes to wine consumers. Hence, some of the dumbest pop culture wines:
• Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty makes children’s clothing. Can someone explain the wine connection to me? And the wine isn’t cheap, either, costing as much as $30.
• A gaggle of film and TV wine from a California marketer called Lot 18, including labels from The Living Dead, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Saturday Night Live. The best description of these comes from wine marketing guru Paul Mabray: “Fakers, not makers.” Besides, blow was the drug of choice on SNL.
• Downton Abbey. Overpiced French plonk that has about as much to do with wine served to upper crust English families as I do with $200 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon.
• Drew Barrymore wine. Barrymore’s problems with alcohol and drug abuse are well known, which baffles me. None of the drunks I’ve known could front for a winery, and they’d be the first to tell you so. And the less said about the Barrymore rose, the better.
• Star Trek. Kirk should have scrambled the brains of the marketing wise guy (didn’t it alway work on computers?) who thought of this. It makes about as much sense as the Star Trek: Enterprise series.
• Skinnygirl. It’s not so much the world doesn’t need diet wine, but that many retailers care more about it than they do real wine. A leading Dallas chain executive told me that the only way he would sponsor a Drink Local promotion was if I got Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel to do the event.