Top 6 Gimmicky Wines

A look at past and present "unique" wines


Summertime means drinking Champagne on ice, right? Well that’s what Moet & Chandon wants you to think.

The winery has released their Moet Ice Imperial, a Champagne meant to be sipped on ice. Reviews have been mixed, and the Huffington Post even suggested it might be better without the ice.

But this is not the first year that Moet Ice Imperial has graced summer glasses. It’s actually been out the past two summers but hasn’t received much attention – until now.

We haven’t tried the Champagne ourselves but we get the feeling this is a bit of a gimmick and boy are there a lot of past wine gimmicks. Let’s revisit them!

Chocolate Flavored Red Wine

You read that right. And no, we’re not talking about hints of chocolate in Moscato. We’re talking about honest-to-god, real chocolate thrown in with nondescript red wine.

Introduced in 2009, ChocoVine was one of the first to venture into this blend. The initial reception was not terribly negative but the wine had a hard time finding its place in the market. Some compared it to Baileys while others wanted it to be a true wine.

Few other wineries have dipped their toes into this. Trentadue injects a “tiny amount” of chocolate into their Chocolate Amore, and Cholais is making its world debut this year. But over all, this niche hasn’t really taken off just yet.


Photo courtesy of drewgstephens via Flickr/cc


Low-Carb Wines

In the mid-2000s, during the height of the low-carb diet craze, winemakers like Sutter Home sought to market a new line of wines as “low-carb.” In fact, Brown-Forman even named their low-carb wines after how many carbs were in their wines: One.6 Chardonnay and One.9 Merlot.

Of course, we all know most dry wines are already pretty low-carb. Since these wines are either no longer available or no longer branded as “low-carb,” we can reasonably say that this gimmick did not last.


Photo courtesy of mjkeliher via Flickr/cc

News-Themed Wines

In 1993, a little thing like the North American Free Trade Agreement seemed like a great historical event to commemorate with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a bottle of Chardonnay. But a year later, the Sonoita area vineyard was the center of a firestorm as unions boycotted their wines.

That’s the trouble with choosing particularly political news events as the names for your wines, they’re polarizing and some people won’t appreciate it.

Some winemakers today still haven’t learned that lesson. Lieb Family Cellars released a 9/11 memorial wine in time for the event’s ten year reunion. Many think it’s in bad taste. Even while a portion of the sales will help victims, many, including Anthony Bourdain, came out against the wine publicly.


Photo courtesy of BorderExplorer via Flickr/cc


Perfumed Wines

Women have had a big target painted on them by the wine industry for years and wine marketers have been doing everything they can to think of new ways to get more women to buy wine. The craziest solution to this conundrum so far? Perfume-inspired wines.

Those women who wish they were buying perfume instead of wine are in luck thanks to Mazzetti d'Altavilla's Essentia Vitae. The grappa distillery is bottling three wines in perfume-shaped bottles. But it doesn’t stop there – the wines even have fragrances; the Moscato smells like violet.

While we can't imagine that wines that smell like perfume would taste like anything other than rubbing alcohol, someone appears to be buying these. The distillery is still featuring them on their site.

Wine Coolers

Admit it, you’ve had a wine cooler sometime in your drinking career. College girls love these and they’re a good alternative to those watered down beers they serve at frat parties. But there’s no denying that the wine cooler is a gimmick – possibly the Godfather of wine gimmicks.

While they don’t have as much clout as most drinks, these sweet beverages have a staying power that malt beverages like Zima and even Smirnoff Ice didn’t. To this day, they’re kind of like drinking training wheels.

If you are looking for the ultimate wine gimmick, this might be the best way to go. Forget the Champagne over ice and grab a Bartles & Jaymes. We just hope you return to the good stuff once you've gotten the gimmick out of your system.


Photo courtesy of lorenzolambertino via Flickr/cc

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  • Snooth User: lakenvelder
    Hand of Snooth
    544484 519

    I have glanced at the chocolate flavored wines but it just does not seem right but I have had chocolate flavored beer that was ok. I used to be into wine coolers but really think they are for young adults just starting to enjoy wine and that was the age I was went I drank them. The 9-11 theme wine just makes me not want to buy any of the wine from that winery.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:03 PM

  • This piece was compelling right up until "We haven’t tried the Champagne ourselves but we get the feeling this is a bit of a gimmick." Now it just comes off as self-righteous denigration. Wine culture is already stuffy and pretentious enough; do we really need people writing negative reviews of products they refuse to try?

    May 30, 2012 at 3:26 PM

  • nothing is reliable but there is no doubt that is the best source to score great via your assignments, really looking for more.

    Nov 28, 2019 at 5:11 AM

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