Yes, Chateau Picard will soon be on sale... or at least, some mocked-up bottles will be when auction house Christie’s hosts a sale of amazingly cool Star Trek crap in October. The two prop wine bottles are estimated to sell for between $500 and $700. Gosh, if I had money -- stupid dollars, as my geek pal Bonnie calls it, money to burn on cool crap the expense of which is hard to justify when you’re scraping the rent and the Con Ed together every month. But I don’t. Maybe I’ll buy a bottle or two of the vino from the actual Chateau Picard, which is fairly reasonably priced...
The real Chateau Picard has been around since long before the idea of Star Trek ever crossed Gene Roddenberry’s mind, but wine sellers are starting to try to cash in on the rise of the geek mindset. There was the hearty and delicious California cabernet called Cabzilla, the label of which featured the giant Japanese lizard monster with a tiny glass of wine in his hand. The wine, alas, is gone from shelves, the vintners having been caught up in a trademark battle in the courts with Toho, Godzillla’s home studio. I wish I’d taken a picture of a bottle while I could still find it, but I never imagined it’d disappear -- it was too tasty and pretty inexpensive, too. Even wine snobs liked it.
One of my favorite new wine discoveries lately is Red Flyer Wine, a California blend that just happens to depict a UFO on its front label and a sci-fi tale of alien influence on the back. From the vineyard’s Web site:
The fanciful themed label was designed to replicate old sci-fi movie posters, specifically "War of the Worlds" and is meant to spark conversation, bring a smile to the face and laughter to the heart.
This secret blend of Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache, Carignan, and Clone X is blended in the tradition of the French Rhone wines. Clone X, the secret ingredient, was smuggled from outer space in the hyperbolic chamber of one of the forward thinking grays.
Perhaps because these vintners know that geeks are spending all their money on books and DVDs and software and Typepad monthly fees and toys and stuff, Red Flyer is dirt cheap. And so are the several varietals from Vampire Vineyards, which actually hails from Transylvania. But cheap don’t mean bad: Red Flyer’s red blend and Vampire’s merlot are both perfectly lovely for an evening with takeout and Sci Fi Friday, and are great party wines, too -- that the labels are natural conversation starters is just a bonus.
And then there’s Stormhoek Wine, a South African vintner that came up with a smart way to introduce its wares to the United States: it’s targeting bloggers and geeks and the intersection of the two demographics -- which is, I imagine, a huge intersection -- with its 100 Geek Dinners in 100 Days, which is running from now through early August. Basically, if you agree to host a geeky bloggy dinner in your city, Stormhoek will supply the booze. I haven’t tried Stormhoek wine yet, but I like their attitude -- one of their varietals is described thusly: “Stormhoek Shiraz. It’s like French, minus the riots and the irritating waiters.”
If snark helps mellow whine, imagine what it does for wine.