Today’s Blog Post Has Been Rated “R”

This blog is intended for adults of legal drinking age. That should be obvious, but sometimes it’s good to state the obvious.

This is one of those times because the subject matter of today’s blog is “adult-oriented” in another way. No, we’re not going to embed Hulk Hogan’s sex tape for you to view, but I have to admit that did come to mind (very briefly!) after reading about the wine label that’s causing quite a bit of discussion in New Hampshire.

The wine in question is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Primitivo from Lazio, Italy. It was made by Jayson Woodbridge, who’s known for his irreverent personality.

The label in question features a painting of a tattooed woman, accompanied by the words: “If You See Kay.”

I must have been absent on the days it happened in my elementary school classrooms, but apparently young boys have been making that statement to their teachers for years… followed by uproarious laughter from other “disruptive” boys in the class.

If you haven’t figured out the “meaning” of that phrase, all I can say is: Please don’t make me spell it out for you.

That’s what some people have done in New Hampshire, and subsequently alerted local and state officials. Paula Tracy wrote about it for the New Hampshire Union Leader, but noted that New Hampshire Liquor Commission Chairman Joseph W. Mollica was not available for comment.

What’s worth noting is that the label probably never would have been approved had the wine been made in America. Here, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is very particular about what may and may not be included on a wine label, and wineries are becoming more reluctant to submit “iffy” labels because TTB staffing has been cut and it now can take as long as three months for a label to be approved for use.

Wines like “If You See Kay,” “Old Fart” and “Fat Bastard” are aimed at specific audiences—mostly young adult males who normally drink beer instead of wine. The latter two have TTB approval, so you can see that the agency has wide discretion when it comes to the approval process. But as one winemaker friend told me, “There’s no way they’d approve ‘If You See Kay’—unless someone was asleep at the wheel.”

Last we checked, nobody in New Hampshire was offended enough to have the “If You See Kay” bottles pulled from state liquor stores. It seemed that the main problem with them was that they weren’t selling. One store worker surmised that it probably has to do with price: “If You See Kay,” at $20, costs about twice as much as other bottles perceived to be of comparable quality.

Posted in The Wine Business
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