By Italian or French standards, Americans still have a lot to learn about wine. But my oh my, how far we've come in the past 30 years. It's hard to fathom how little we must have known about the fruits of the vine if the following ten shockingly terrible ads for abysmally awful wines are any indication...
10. Richard's Wild Irish Rose, Early 1960s. Not sure what they were thinking here...Reminds me more of a scene from the final reel of The Lost Weekend than anything suggesting "a happy wine for happy people." And how much older is that bald dude than his gorgeous young paramour? How much of this plonk did he have to ply her with to get her on that couch?
9. Mateus Rose, 1971. The narrator of this ad starts off all rico suave, waffling on about native cheeses and medieval cobblestones, and then he just goes in for the kill with that "Bring it on home" line. I guess the ad agency wanted to be a tad more subtle than just having him say "Pour this down her neck and throw her down and fuck her" and a shade less subtle than "Seal the deal."
8. Martini and Rossi, 1974 You'll never have trouble "getting to yes" again if you ladle out enough of this two-dollar ambrosia.
7. Almaden Golden Chablis, 1984 Featuring one of the lamest pick-up lines ever, albeit one delivered with extreme confidence.
6. Ripple, early 1970s
Yes, "red" and "white" are flavors...Shiny happy young people star in this laughably lame attempt to class up a skid row favorite.
5. Boone's Farm Wild Mountain Grape Wine, circa 1960 Yeah, grandpa the winemaker could hardly talk because he was "excited." Uh huh. And why do all these hootenanny hoedown folks defer their judgment to that giant hillbilly thug? Since when are Hoss Cartwright types final arbiters of great wine? And what do banjos, gingham dresses and haylofts have to do with wine, anyway?
4. Orson Welles If you are over 35, when you think of commercials for bad wine, you think Orson Welles. Here are some outtakes. Let's hope Welles was able to imbibe something better than the wine he had to tout here.
You'll blush too when you hear the cringeworthy ad copy employed to shill this swill.
2. Riunite, 1983 One of the catchiest wine jingles ever. Love the wholesomely innocent yet utterly unmissable visual innuendos. Give her a couple of glasses of Riunite, buy her one little flower, take her to lunch and she'll stroke shafts, spread her legs and let you put things in her mouth!
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
1. James Mason touts Thunderbird, late '50s or early '60s The distinguished Englishman was known for taking pretty much any gig that was offered him, including, evidently, ad spots for the King of DT Wines. To his credit, he does seem to try to damn that vile concoction with faint praise, citing its "unusual" quality and saying that it's quite unlike anything he's tasted before.