The balance between fine wine and funny labels

We have all walked down the aisles of wine at our favourite liquor store. Bottle after bottle of Chateau this and Bodega that, where fancy calligraphy makes every label blend into one and you’re left wondering which to take to your friend’s dinner party. But then, you see it. A name that sticks out among the rest, a refreshing bright colour and you’re almost immediately sold even before knowing what variety is catching your eye.


Clever and hilarious wine names are everywhere. From “FAT bastard” to “Skinny Girl,” these wines are leading in sales and popularity. But wine geeks like us have to wonder whether the eye-catching name is leading us to quality wine or if we’re buying into an obviously effective marketing strategy.


FAT bastard wine tells a charming tale of Thierry, a winemaker in France tasting an experimental wine alongside his friend and partner, Guy. The two were blown away by the “rich colour and full palate,” which led Thierry to shout out, “now zat iz what you call eh phet bast-ard!” Now, by “charming,” I was referring to the French accent, not off-colour language. Yet, the label’s profanity has led to annual sales of 400,000 cases. While the price is low at around $10, wine critics have had difficulties rating FAT bastard wines over 80 points.


In 2012, Skinnygirl wine was number one in sales in North America. Over $4.7 million dollars were spent on these low-calorie Red and White Blends. Promising 100 calories for 5oz and low alcohol content compared to an average 123 calories in a Cabernet Sauvignon for example. The wine is obviously aimed at weight-aware women. Well, I don’t know about you but I came for the wine, not the calorie counting.

Most wines with show stopper labels such as, #YOLO, Mad Housewife and Fancy Pants may have a cute back-story or target a specific audience. They may make a pocket-friendly gift that sparks a smile, but for the wine-lover, these marketing tactics may not be a pleasure to drink.

Woop Woop Shiraz

This is not to say that all wines with funny names aren’t flavoursome and deep. Woop Woop wines (meaning “out there”) is very fun to say and comes from the McLaren Vale in southeastern Australia. This wine is not only a penny saver, but also holds ratings of 90 points from International Wine Cellar for their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and 89 pts for 2010 Shiraz.

WineCollective has also featured some laughable names in our packages including, Bob’s Your Uncle, Wrongo Dongo and Cockfighter’s Ghost. While including entertaining names and labels, these wines were also all enjoyed by our professionally trained wine critics.

Bob's-your-uncle---The-White-Brew  Wrongo-Dongo Cockfighters-Ghost---Pinot-Noir-2006

At WineCollective we know the truly discriminating wine lover looks past the cover. When you find a fun label, don’t forget to read the fine print for region, variety and flavour. Find a balance between a flashy presentation and an amazing wine.