Offensive or humorous? Edgy or tasteless? In recent years, there has been a stream of wines that push the envelope on political and social “correctness” and focus the consumer’s attention on the label instead of the juice inside.
Often the grape varietal plays second fiddle to the ostentatiousness of the name and corresponding label artwork. The jury seems to be out on whether some of these wines will make it, but they nonetheless line the shelves of wine shops and grocery stores.
We want you to be the judge. Do you think these wines provide humor or border on the raunchy? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The old veteran of the group and one of the first wines to bring overt sexuality to the American market. Their website incorporates terms “provocative”, “experiment freely,” “arouse”, and of course, “threesome.” Now wildly popular, and in every grocery store from here to the east coast, the Ménage à Trois label was jokingly scandalous when it was first released, but now seems yawningly mainstream. Find their range of wines at Ralph’s, Vons, BevMo, Target and most major grocery and wine chains. Cost: $7-$15. Best deal online? Try totalwine.com.
Wait for it...do you have it yet? When you say this label out loud, it basically reads, ahem, “F**K”. With a byline of “No Holds Barred Wine” and a slack-postured, rebellious tattooed gal flanking the label, their message is clear. (Just wait until you check out the website.) What’s the wine inside? Who knows...it is nowhere to be found on their front page. What seems like a 100 percent bombastic American-style wine is actually produced in Italy. Rather surprisingly, you can find this wine at Ralph’s grocery stores (spotted in La Jolla) and online at wine.com. Cost: $18.
Certainly not concerned with offending the overweight population or using profanity in a name, this wine won initial fame and consumer loyalty from the name and friendly price tag. With a plump hippo as the mascot, buyers see the wine as light-hearted, humorous and fun. While the name might be playful, I wouldn’t recommend taking it to your guy friend who’s struggling with his weight. Maaay not get the joke. Find this wine at Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods on University Avenue. Cost: $12.
There’s no two ways around it, this wine puts it right out there. But the label finds many at odds with themselves on whether it is offensive or not. Written in fanciful cursive on a baby pink background, the label is delicate not forceful. Still, it is profanity and a word that most women don’t take too kindly to hearing. Or is this a case of appropriation and the modern woman buys it with pride? Let’s hear it ladies. Find the red at totalwine.com and bubbly at garyswine.com. Cost: $10.
While made from two different wineries, these two brands attempt the same message: Crazy is cool. Clearly not dissuaded from the challenging dialogue consuming the country with mental illness and violent acts of crime, including rampant school shootings, the lunatic label alludes to the criminal by donning handcuffs, while the latter features a frightening set of bulging eyes. Desperately seeking attention or cheeky and conversation starting? You decide. Find Lunatic Red at Ralph’s and online at wine.com. Paranoia has been spotted at Ralph’s La Jolla Village Market. Cost: $10-22.