This is when I wine

Wine Helps Save Sunset Cocktail HourOoops. A bit of a wine-induced faux pas in that tweet there. Cheers!

What I know about wine would fit in, well, a wine glass.

I do know that a doctor said I have to drink a glass of red every night or I’ll die. I admit I might not have that exactly correct. But I’m willing to err on the side of caution. For example, I’m pretty sure that if I drink two glasses a night, then I won’t die … twice.

So I got that going for me.

I’m trying to make my wine a matter of routine. As with most things it is important to have a plan. Of course I usually start with a beer. I don’t want anyone questioning my manhood or anything. Beer is an excellent aperitif.

The wine comes second. This is where I get choosey. It has to come in a bottle. It has to be red. And it has to have alcohol content. Oh, the red part is optional. I’m sure stuff like white zinfandel will still enrich my lifespan. When I opt for a white zin then the need for the lead-in beer should really be obvious.

I also enjoy Corbett Canyon quite a bit, although my wife looks down her nose with disdain at the “ultra-cheap” market. I find it is helpful to sing the Corbett Canyon song (complete with echo-effect) to soften the mood.

After a glass or two of wine, we usually watch a movie. That’s when I switch to a sophisticated nightcap, like a snort of tequila.

These days, though, my wine of choice is Silver Lake in the heart of the Rattlesnake Hills region of Washington state. It’s a playful little vintage that has grown on me, especially since my wife and I received a case as a gift after working our asses off at a wedding recently. Suddenly Silver Lake was my favorite thing!

Alas, it has been some time since I had a wine with an animal on the label. Of course, this sort of thing is the absolute best way to select your pairings. An animal on the label is all the rage. They call them “critter labels.” A critter on the label can be worth its weight in gold.

“More women are drawn to these cutesy labels because they relate to animals,” said Chad Richard, owner of Furthermore Wines. “And, statistics point out that women buy most of the wine.” (Source:

Is the label on the wine on your table adorned with an animal? You might be an unwitting aficionado of critter labels. When I’m out in public, I proudly slosh my glass and boast loudly for all to hear, “I only drink critter labels! RAWR!”

The ACNielsen study has some hard data confirming the popularity of this new wine category. In the past three years there have been 438 new Table Wine brands that have been successfully introduced in the American market (those wines that sold more than $20,000 annually). Of these 438 new brands 77 of them featured an animal on their label, around 18 percent. Combined with existing “critter label” wines, sales reached $600 million in 2005 out of a total of just over $4 billion, based on ACNielsen sales data from supermarket point of sale purchases. (Source:

My wife is a bit of an expert when it comes to wine, I’m afraid, and stubbornly insists on selecting wines based on other criteria. Me? I really can’t tell the difference. I’ve sniffed wines until I’m blue in the face and never heard any of those damn “notes” that people keep talking about. Biff Tannen? Keep him the hell out, butthead. Tobacco? Why the hell would I want that in my wine? No, I’m quite satisfied being a low brow drinker.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a recent shipment of wine in need of some corkage. I’ll proudly fill my glass with an eight-ounce pour, lift my glass of Eagle Bear Panda Moose Prairie Dog Merlot and propose a toast to all of my bloggy friends. Here’s to you!

I’ve tweeted about wine quite a bit. Here’s some other recent Twitter pairings to go with this post. I think you’ll agree that I’m able to pull off the tricky feat of boasting about wine and maintaining my dignity and poise at the same time. Salut!

10 responses

  1. I thought Shouts might be insane, but now I’m positive.


    1. Obviously not enough red wine. More wine, more wine!


  2. critter labels! I used to love Fat Bastard wine. it has a hippo on the label. But i didn’t drink it for the hippo. I drank it for the awesome drunk… and hangover. Gawd, I miss alcohol. This baby comes out in less then 5 days….i just want a dirty martini. or a margarita. or a bottle of patron. or all of the above.


    1. I’d smuggle a bottle of wine, gin, or tequila into the maternity ward for you! To that baby I propose a toast! 🙂

      Hippo on the label? Now that sounds like good shit!


  3. I admit I tried a wine with a kangaroo on the label and it tasted like ARSE. Bitched at work about it (to warn people) and was told by female colleagues that they LOVE that wine.

    I’m not saying I know anything about wine but I’ve been drinking booze since I was 3 and I did live in France…I’m thinking it’s the friggin label they fell for.


    1. One person’s arse is the delectable bouquet of another I guess.

      Maybe we should try rating wines by the animals on the label. Kangaroo arse would be way up there, me thinks.

      The whole critter label phenomenon proves that presentation and perception supersede quality.


  4. Just checked our wine “collection.” I guess we finished off the kangaroo (mentioned above), which is Yellowtail. I, too, set the bar (get it, bar? hehe) low when it comes to wine. It’s gotta be red (unless it’s over 90 degrees outside), no more the $5.99, and I gotta like the label. The lack of critters on our labels should reveal that it’s my husband who buys the wine. I tend to go for wild graphics on the label – there was one with a Soviet style art that had RED in the title. Since I have red hair, I like to think of that as MY personal label. That said, I think I liked what was inside the bottle too.
    Now that I know that “critter wine” sells, i’m going to be photographing our gorgeous pitbull, Layla. Her soulful eyes could sell anything!


    1. Set the bar too high and you’ll come up dry. Set the bar low and soon you’ll glow. 🙂

      Another vote for the kangaroo. Got it. 🙂

      I’m sure the wild graphics also help sell wine, but it doesn’t sound like that can compete with the awesome draw of animals.

      Gimme more wine with prairie dogs on the label!


  5. To be a true Californian, you have to be able to roll your eyes and let out an exasperated sigh when you say, “Critter wine…”

    I prefer ones with fake French estates!


    1. I’ll practice that eye rolling bit.

      Sniff. Sniff. Sniiiiiiiiiiiiff. Swirl. Swirl. Sip.

      “Hmm. Not bad. What’s the label look like?”


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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