Dirty wine

Wine brands, especially in the upstart, insecure New World, used to strain to sound serious and Frenchy-fancy. You had your Domains, your Clos, your Chateaus (“Pure Sonoma”!). Even five-dollar plonk could seem classy if it had a ridge or a mountain or a gate in its name. As James Thurber’s wine snob put it in the famous 1944 New Yorker cartoon, we may have been drinking naïve domestic Burgundy, but at least we could be amused by its presumption.

If Thurber were cartooning today, he’d change that last word to presumptuousness. Because inappropriate language—from vulgarity to suggestiveness to scatology—is the hottest trend in wine branding.

Here’s a survey of rude wine names, in alphabetical rude-word order. (And, since you asked, I know a bunch of rude beer brands, too. I’m sticking to wine this time.) Continue reading

It’s Sofa King famous!

No discussion of swears and branding would be complete without a nod to Sofa King, which is at once a real brand, a parody brand, a tribute brand, a song title, the subject of a Saturday Night Live skit, and the punchline to a joke. For you scholarly types in the audience, it’s also a convenient introduction to prosody.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Continue reading