Welcome to one of the blog’s newest holiday tradition: the cheap wine version of the “Night Before Christmas”
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that the Wine Curmudgeon soon would be there.
And Mamma and I were nestled all snug in our bed; While visions of cheap wine danced in our heads; When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear, But a miniature keyboard without any reindeer, Instead a bearded typist so full of high dudgeon, I knew in a moment it must be the Wine Curmudgeon.
“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!” “Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!” Down the chimney he came and landed on one foot; His hat and his glasses all tarnished with soot;
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; The last thing I expected was his cranky, middle-aged self He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the wine racks, and did not lurk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his keyboard and the clatter was endless; And I heard him exclaim, ere he typed out of sight:
“Quality cheap wine to all, and to all a good night!”
Scrooge’s post-modern wine Christmas Carol leaves a very bad taste in his mouth
Marley was dead. And good riddance, thought Scrooge. Marley had actually suggested making wine people could afford to drink, and marketing it to consumers who weren’t aging Baby Boomers. Who needs that? sneered Scrooge.
Not him. He was No. 9 on The Most Important and Smartest Wine Geniuses List compiled by one of the wine magazines.
Now, if he could only get rid of that damned Cratchit, his winemaker. She kept insisting on using only pinot noir in the pinot noir and cutting back on the Mega Purple. And she had even been talking using ingredient labels for the wine. Obviously, Scrooge thought, she wasn’t a team player.
Scrooge’s iPhone 11 beeped. The face of a woman appeared with the text. Spam, thought Scrooge, and he deleted it. But the face popped up again.
“Do you recognize me?” asked the face.
Scrooge deleted the text again, but the face was still there. He looked at it, and he remembered his early days at the winery. Man, they had made some great wine then, like those $8.99 California field blends. But what was the point? The wine hadn’t been smooth, so no focus group would have approved.
Scrooge put the phone down, picked up the remote, turned on his 65-inch smart TV. Another face appeared, this time a man with a red beard. “Do you recognize me?” he asked.
Scrooge changed the channel, but the face was still there. Then it faded, and Scrooge saw Cratchit in the winery. She was blending grapes, and Scrooge recognized those damned Rhone varietals she kept trying to sneak in. I told her to dump that stuff, he thought. She knows she is supposed to make merlot, and she also knows it had better be more than a little sweet. Because women don’t like dry red wine.
I guess she didn’t believe me when I told her we only wanted team players, thought Scrooge. And if you’re not a team player, you can look for a job elsewhere – even if it is Christmas and even if you need the health insurance because your son Tim is sick.
Scrooge walked into the kitchen, past the Viking Tuscany range and opened the SubZero Pro refrigerator. He wanted a glass of that fake oak, 15 percent chardonnay that his marketing director said would sell like crazy.
A third face appeared, with glasses, a hat, and a scruffy beard. “I know you recognize me,” said the face.
Scrooge blinked, and then he seemed to be in some sort of home, surrounded by several other ancient winery executives. They were telling stories about the old days, when ordinary people drank wine, and they laughed and smiled and almost cried in their happiness.
Then he was back in his kitchen, in front of the SubZero, and the bearded face was still there: “Well?” it asked.
“I’m just one man,” Scrooge said. “We have to start somewhere,” said the face. And Scrooge nodded in agreement. Maybe those Rhone varietals were a good idea after all.
A tip o’ the Curmudgeon’s fedora to Charles Dickens, who will hopefully forgive me for taking such wine-themed liberties with his story.
“The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in a world where the three-tier system runs everything”
Maybe the reason the wine world is in such turmoil — flat growth, too high prices, too much crummy wine — is because we don’t have the right person to help us in our quest for better wine: Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca.” So the Wine Curmudgeon worked a little editing magic with one of the most famous scenes in cinema history.
My apologies to Bogart, Claude Rains, and Ingrid Bergman; director Michael Curtiz; and the Epstein brothers and Howard Koch, who shared screenplay credit for the film. My excuse: In one of my other lives, I wrote a book called “The Casablanca Companion,” so I know much more about this movie than anyone should.
A tip o’ the WC’s fedora to Eagle Burger on YouTube, where I found the original scene. And all foolishness like this owes a debt to WineParody, whose Robert Parker epic is the standard by which these efforts are judged.
Make sure you turn captions on when you watch the video; you can make the captions bigger or change their color by clicking on the settings gear on the lower right.
Plus, the three-tier system is a natural for selling wine to cats. The pet drug supply chain isn’t all that different from three-tier, so vets would understand how to work with all of its legal complications. Why not a wine section next to the fancy collars and upscale treats at the local animal hospital?
Now I can hear your objections. Cats don’t drink wine. Which is where you’re wrong, and why you should be glad that the Wine Curmudgeon is looking out for your interests.
As the video at the top of the post demonstrates, cats do drink wine. They just need a little encouragement to get them to drink more and to trade up from the box wine in the video. So let the marketing department loose — Cat Nips, a 4-pack of 375 ml cans to take advantage of the canned wine craze. Or, best yet, an Instagram video featuring a cat influencer like Grumpy Cat sipping a cult Napa cab while lounging on a porch overlooking the winery’s vineyards. Can’t miss, can it?
Remember, if you ever need any more big ideas, I’m always here to help.
Drinky gets it now: How could he have missed the red wine’s playful mushu pork elements?
Once more, we take aim at winespeak and pomposity — the blog’s fifth do-it-yourself wine review.
The annual do-it-yourself wine review remains one of the most popular posts on the blog. And why not? You too can sound just as foolish as those of us who get paid to do it. Because doesn’t everyone want to write something as memorable as “My, I find this wine to be complex yet simple in its approach to life. It lifts my spirits and appeals to my inner child while satisfying my need to be an adult.”
So write your own wine review, using the drop-down menus in this post. Just click the menu and choose your favorite line. Those of you who get the blog via email may have to go to the website — click here to do so.