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Wine Is Classy

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As long as you're painting a self-portrait, you may as well make yourself look classy.
Frasier: The wine shop is down to their last two cases of the '82 Chambolle-Musigny. Why don't you dash right down before someone snaps them up?
Niles: You know very well that in 1982 there was a drought in Bourgogne. The locals dubbed it the Year of the Raisin.

Whenever a character is shown drinking wine, it's usually a good sign that person is high class or sophisticated (or trying to come off as such), especially if the wine comes from their special private stock. The connotations of this can vary depending on the person. For protagonists, wine knowledge can show that the character is an Officer and a Gentleman or a Gentleman and a Scholar, and serves to make the character look more worldly and refined. For villains, wine features prominently in introducing a Man of Wealth and Taste, often sporting A Glass of Chianti. Either way, wine drinkers will almost always be Blue Bloods or obsessive snobs who take it way too seriously. They'll consider it a blasphemy to drink white wine with beef or red wine with fish, pork, or poultry (a "true" wine connoisseur knows its the other way around)note . Expect to hear Sommelier Speak.


This trope varies widely by culture. In most of Western Europe, particularly in countries with a strong wine-making tradition like Spain, France, and Italy, wine is viewed as a fairly mundane and commonplace beverage (to the point where wine is served in McDonald's).

In the New World, wine-making is a relatively recent phenomenon, and its association with the Old World gave it some elitist connotations. While this has lessened, beer is still viewed as the primary "pedestrian" drink, while wine is still associated with the upper classes, whether it be old money Socialites or "liberal elitists".

Wine has yet to gain the same degree of popularity as beer and sake in the East, but red wine is becoming increasingly popular among the middle class in China due to this trope. China is one of the top ten largest wine-producing countries in the world, though nearly all of it is produced for domestic consumption, and so has yet to gain the same sort of international reputation as major producers like France and Italy. That said, Chinese wine-drinkers have some... odd... ideas about what to do with their wine.


A Sub-Trope of Drink-Based Characterization. Compare Food Porn, Frothy Mugs of Water (when substituted with "grape juice" for the kids), Expensive Glass of Crap (for when someone tries to pass off cheap wine as the good stuff), French Cuisine Is Haughty (if the wine is French), Smoking Is Glamorous.

A Sister Trope to A Glass of Chianti, wherein a villainous character is putting on airs of being classy, either as part of their persona, or for a disguise, by drinking wine. How well this works depends on what they're having, what food accompanies it, and how well other characters know wine and food. Also to Luxurious Liquor, where expensive alcohol is used as shorthand for free wealth.

This trope can also be inverted by "bum wines", which are the wine counterpart to A Tankard of Moose Urine, but these are much rarer in fiction (despite their ubiquity on store shelves the world over).


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  • Deconstructed in a PSA about drunk driving. One man (dressed in a white shirt and tie) is shown driving around in a Prius filled with wine. Another man (dressed like a "good ol' boy") is shown driving around in a pick-up truck with a cab filled with beer. Both get pulled over by the cops and asked "Sir, have you been drinking?" even as their beverage of choice spills out the window.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Kiddy Grade: Such "grape juice" is a favorite drink of Lumiere's.
  • The manga The Drops of God revolves around the wine community. One story arc features a pair of brothers with dueling wine stores, one fully embraces this trope and stocks mainly high class French wines, while the other mainly looks for bargain-price every day wines. The manga is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for creating a renewed surge of interest in wine in Japan. Thanks to the miracle of internet wine ordering, thousands of Japanese people are treated to a charismatic character's opinion of a specific wine and can then go and order those very wines and taste them for themselves. Some winemakers found their orders from Japan doubling or even tripling.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Pegasus was almost always shown with a glass of red wine, but in the English dub, they changed it to "the world's finest fruit juices".
    • It's called wine in the movie, however. Specifically, he drinks wine spritzers.
    • Rex Godwin drank red wine, but not as often as Pegasus. (Being one of the bigwigs of the Neo Domino city government, he was certainly "classy".)
  • In Mirumo De Pon, Murumo is occasionally seen ruminating in a tiny armchair with a wine glass full of juice.
  • One Piece:
    • Dracule Mihawk, the world's greatest swordsman, when not out slaughtering pirates, can be seen relaxing at his mansion with a book and a nice glass of red wine.
    • Actually this Trope was parodied early on in the series where a Navy officer tried to impress his date by rhapsodizing about the wine. Since his waiter was Sanji, it naturally didn't end well for him.
    • Crocodile, A Man Of Wealth And Taste, was also seen enjoying a nice glass of red wine while the Strawhats and Princess Vivi were his captives.
  • Detective Conan: A number of episodes, movies, and Original Video Animations have significant plot points concerning the tasting of fine wines:
    • One of the characters in the second Non-Serial Movie, The Fourteenth Target, is an expert sommelier who is able to identify the exact vintage of wine by its sight, smell, and taste. It turns out the sommelier is the culprit, and is in part taking revenge for an accident that robbed him of his sense of taste.
    • Inspector Shiratori, coming from a wealthy family background, is a wine enthusiast himself. The second OAV, "Sixteen Suspects?!", is set at his villa, which has an extensive wine cellar. A bottle of extremely rare wine is broken by one of the guests, and Conan and Hattori have to figure out who did it.
    • At least two of the television episodes involve crimes that take place in or around wine cellars. In one, the murder uses a clothesline to deposit the body of the victim in the middle of the cellar without actually entering himself. In another, an assault victim at a wine-tasting ruins a bottle of fine wine by heating and shaking it up as a message that his attempted murderer has imprisoned him in the cellar.
    • Subverted in that Mouri Kogoro is a heavy drinker, who professes to enjoy fine wine but is completely unskilled in the handling and drinking of it, and (as is revealed when Ran switches bottles on him) is incapable of distinguishing fine wine from cheap wine. He frequently gets drunk on wine, sake, or beer, and ends up with his necktie around his head.
  • In K, the First and Silver King, Adolf K. Weismann, has a glass of wine in his hand in the flashback in the beginning of episode 12, which goes with his sophisticated attire and surroundings to produce this effect.
  • The ever classy Big Bad and Bad Boss Frieza from Dragon Ball Z often had a glass of wine with him in flashbacks.
  • France of Hetalia: Axis Powers got one wine drinking scene in the anime.
  • "The Sleight Before Christmas", a Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode, features a centuries-old bottle of wine, which is a gift from France to the President of the United States. Lupin declares the president too low-brow to appreciate the wine and replaced it with cheap wine. The joke's on Lupin, though, because the real wine wasn't preserved well, and had become vinegar!
  • Will A. Zeppeli from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is pretty much never seen without wine. Justified, since wine acts as his Weapon of Choice.
  • In Soul Hunter, Choukoumei is often seen carrying a glass of red wine, fitting with his sophisticated attitude. When he is'nt, he is drinking tea.
  • Parodied in Yo-Kai Watch when Puppiccino inspirits two fifth graders into putting on airs in an attempt at being "mature". While Nate drinks his milk from a juice box, Eddie and Bear drink theirs from wine glasses. They even rate it like it's wine.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In The History Boys' fanfic "take my hand, take my whole life too," Posner and Scripps briefly pretend to date. When they decide to figure out a story for how they started dating, Scripps suggested that he probably ordered wine because he wanted to impress Posner even though he hates it, and that Posner would have seen through it and made him order a lager instead.
  • In two Persona 5 fanfics written by the same author, The Evil Queen and The AFR Universe, Igor can be seeing sipping either red or white wine depending on his mood. What's notable is that he drinks his wine from the Holy Grail that had once been his enemy Yaldobaoth.

  • Dracula never drinks... wine. He just offers it to his guests.
  • So much so in Sideways, almost to the point where there's more about wine than the people. Considering most of the story involves wine lovers touring the wine country, this is to be expected.
  • In the "Black Cat" segment of Roger Corman's Tales of Terror, Vincent Price plays a cultured oenophile who gets into an identifying contest with slobbish drunkard Peter Lorre. Price swirls, smells, swishes a taste in his mouth while inhaling - Lorre guzzles back the entire glass, and matches Price glass by glass.
  • Lawrence Jamieson from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has a very extensive wine cellar — which he never drinks from, as he considers his collection too valuable.
  • In From Russia with Love, Bond is able to identify that the villain Grant is a fraud because he orders red wine with fish.
  • Anton Ego from Ratatouille is a famous businessman and food critic who enjoys red wine, even holding up a glass in a self-portrait and stopping himself in the middle of a Spit Take.note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed on an episode of Red Dwarf where Lister complains about "total smegheads" who always drink wine. "What'll you have on your cornflakes, darling? Oh, I'll have some WINE!"
    • Another episode has him recounting his lowest point, when he wandered into a wine bar, and came close to becoming middle class.
    • And in "Rimmerworld:"
      Head Rimmer: Enough of this heresy. At the stroke of dawn take them out and kill them. And when you've killed them burn the bodies, then bring me the cold ashes on a silver plate with a glass of chilled sancerre.
      Cat: This guy's an animal! Doesn't he know it's red wine with cold ashes?
      • There is such a thing as red sancerre, though......
  • The animated intro to Mystery!, the sister series of Masterpiece Theatre, featured a widow drinking wine at someone's grave.
  • On White Collar, forger, art thief, and all-around Con Man Neal Caffrey loves wine, as does his millionaire hostess. Working stiff FBI agent Peter Burke is a beer man. This comes to a head in an episode when Peter needs to pose as a wealthy wine connoisseur and Neal, horrified that they'll be exposed, tries to step in. Peter rallies, Magnificent Bastard style, and completely snows everyone.
  • Frasier does this. He and Niles were even part of a wine club.
  • Star Trek:
  • In Game of Thrones, the wealthy Lannisters are constantly shown sipping wine while discussing their various plots. Due to the medieval setting, however, they don't have a lot of beverage options; everyone drinks wine, except when they're drinking ale.
    • In the original books, they aren't limited to just wine and ale: they have strong spirits. Seamen have rum, and the Night's Watchers have some unspecified strong spirit to keep them warm. But the Lannisters, still, prefer wine, and so do the equally classy Tyrells.
  • The Columbo episode "Any Old Port in a Storm" stars Donald Pleasence as wine connoisseur Adrian Carsini, who is driven to murder when his playboy half-brother Ric threatens to sell off the family vineyard to a cheap wine-maker. He attempts to keep Columbo off his trail by teaching the detective how to appreciate a fine wine. Adrian's sensitive palate proves to be his undoing: Columbo traps him by serving him a bottle from his own cellar, which he had inadvertently destroyed when he concealed Ric's body down there and turned off the air conditioning, not counting on there being an unseasonably warm day while he was away establishing an alibi.
  • Subverted uproariously by Zoe Lyons in one episode of Mock the Week, where she describes taking a box of wine to a party, and drinking so much of it that she ripped the box open to extract the foil pouch "to play what I like to call the alcoholic bagpipes" (mimes armpit-squeezing the last drops into her glass).
  • Zig-zagged in Root Into Europe: Mr. Root, a eurosceptic Englishman who judges other countries against the United Kingdom's gold standard, looks at the extensive wine list of a fancy continental restaurant, but then asks the sommelier for a bottom-shelf table wine that's popular back home.

  • The Alice Network: René, a Man of Wealth and Taste, shares fine wines with his waitress “Marguerite” as a sign of favoritism, making her deeply uncomfortable. Since Marguerite is supposed to be uncultured, he has to tell her about each wine and its different flavors. This plays into Marguerite’s general sense of Evil Tastes Good.
  • Oenophilenote  Lord Peter Wimsey, who takes this Up to Eleven. References come up periodically, such as his asking Harriet Vane to wear a wine-coloured dress and specifying the shade by specifying a vintage in Have His Carcase. It's a major plot point in the short story "The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste", in which Wimsey goes undercover as Death Bredon and has his palate tested at a blind tasting; he has to name the producer and vintage (year of production) for a series of wines, some of them quite obscure.
  • Nightfall (Series): Prince Vladimir often has a glass of red wine in his hand. He also talks about it and analyses it’s properties.
  • Gilgamesh in Fate/Zero, being the arrogant king he is, is often shown drinking wine to highlight this fact. His Gate of Babylon also contains a high-class wine cellar with wine vinted by the gods themselves, which he takes out during the "Banquet of Kings" scene because he disdains the modern-day wine that Rider brought.
  • In 1984, not only that the members of the Inner Party (the political elite of the totalitarian state) are assigned much better dwellings, clothes, food, coffee, chocolate and tobacco than the members of the Outer Party (i.e. the mere White Collar Workers), but also while the members of the Outer Party drink gin (and the blue-collar proles drink beer!), the members of the Inner Party drink... wine, what else?! When two Outer Party members are invited to share some wine with an Inner Party member, the narration notes that they don't enjoy it much, mainly because they can barely taste it after the stronger drink they're normally accustomed to.
  • Discworld:
    • Played with in Carpe Jugulum, where the human subculture of vampires are considered freaks because they file down their teeth, wear bright colors, stay up past noon, and drink... wine.
    • Also played with by Lord Vetinari, who normally drinks water, except in Unseen Academicals where he gets drunk on beer with the footballers. He's mentioned in the same book to not drink wine, and Glenda asks "Do you mean he does not drink wine, or he does not drink...''wine''?" Also in that book, Glenda comments that she thought only "nobby people" drank champagne, and Pepe corrects her "No. Just people with money, love. Sometimes it's the same thing."
  • Honor Harrington's William Alexander is a real connoisseur of the fine vintages and explicitly calls other drinks uncultured and low-class. Played with in that it is his older brother, Hamish, who holds the family title, and he doesn't drink anything except beer. Ham even hangs a lampshade over his brother's love of wine in one of their frequent after-dinner banters.
  • Shan from the Liaden Universe walks around with a glass of red wine all the time. Does he even drink from it?
  • Letters to His Son: British statesman Lord Chesterfield wrote his son the one or other time to sent him some bottles of hundred-year-old wine, and paid with gold for them.
  • In The Wheel of Time, wine is the preferred evening drink for the nobility; poorer classes drink ale.
  • As noted under Live-Action Television, both the Lannisters and the Tyrells have a fondness for wine in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
  • Vizzini, in The Princess Bride, sets out goblets of wine and a plate of high-quality cheeses as he waits to confront the Man in Black. Downplayed, though, because Vizzini is both clever and a bit classy - but neither as much as he'd like to believe.
  • In one short story of The Dresden Files a servant of Dionysus cites the rise of this trope as a reason why she chose to enchant a batch of MacAnally's beer instead of wine.
  • Hannibal: The title character is a Man of Wealth and Taste from an aristocratic background with both the education and the nose to appreciate rare wines. His sense of smell is acute enough that he can savor a wine's notes just by pouring a glass and leaving it nearby.

  • Cacophony from Jemjammer has to start each session by picking a "mood", and in the first session it drives her to crave classy wine. So she buys a bottle and four goblets for her and the party. And anyone else she can hand the wine off to.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When not scheduled to wrestle and not in the process of stalking anybody "The Precious One" Gilbert can be found wearing three piece suits and pour wine from multiple bottles into a single glass.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Traveller: Nobles, The Emperor is described as drinking a Hungarian vintage that is shipped all the way from Planet Terra in about a year's voyage. In a subversion, the Sword Worlders consider wine an unmanly drink. A proper Sword World aristocrat drinks Lambic Red beer from the planet of Gungnir, prepared by a special process that has made Sword Worlder beer well-famed.

  • In The Rose Tattoo, Serafina, proud of having married a baron though she was born a peasant, keeps a stock of Sicilian Spumanti bottles from the house of her late husband's family.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Wine is the only alcoholic beverage that should be offered as a gift to the Cool Old Lady Wynne rather than to The Alcoholic Oghren.
  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Phoenix drinks grape juice while playing poker in the seedy back of some bar, before murder happens. The grape juice bottles prove crucial to the case. And for the record, it was grape juice in Japan.
    • A variation with the Big Bad of Justice for All, Matt Engarde: when he switches from his breezy Surfer Dude persona to his sharp, arrogant true self, one of the cues is him whipping a glass of brandy out from Hammerspace.
  • Inverted in Allods Online with the quest reward item "Three Axes Port", which is a reference to a Russian brand of bum wine. The only thing it does is intelligence drain.
  • Dracula in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Until he throws the glass on the ground and starts fighting you.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Lilly Satou, an elegant and classy lady, takes a liking to wine after her older sister Akira brings some to her best friend Hanako's birthday party, and drinks it on two other occasions in her route. Akira, who is much less refined, says she is more of a beer person. As it is constantly repeated and shown that Lilly being born blind has allowed her other senses to develop far beyond the human average, it is likely that she can derive far more enjoyment from a complex drink like wine (being able to truly appreciate things like texture, temperature, smell and subtle flavor) than her sister, for whom it's just another kind of alcohol. However, Lilly perhaps enjoys the wine a little too much, and Intoxication Ensues.
  • In Crusader Kings II DLC The Republic, one of the upgrades for the Patrician's palace in a merchant republic is the Wine Cellar, which provides a small boost to your characters' fertility.
  • WildStar's Malvolio Portius, the poster gentleman of the Dominion, has so far never been seen without a glass of "Something Expensive." Presumably, it's the only thing he drinks. Which he does a lot of.
  • Trip in Façade is kind of a dick on this subject. However, due to his lower-class upbringing, he has a tendency to sneak down to a dingy bar in the bad part of the city and drink beer. He does not like to discuss this.
  • Zinyak in Saints Row IV has a glass of wine (or the Zin equivalent) when you confront him for the final boss battle.
  • Doctor Chakwas's personal side quest in Mass Effect 2 concerns acquiring a bottle of fancy brandy for her. She offers to share a glass or several with Shepard in gratitude and to honor the fallen.
  • Story of Seasons:
    • With the exception of his favorite gift (bouillabaisse), the best presents to offer potential Love Interest Klaus in Story of Seasons (2014) are fruit wines from your personal winery. Not coincidentally, Klaus is the game's resident Gentleman and a Scholar.
    • This is mostly averted in Story of Seasons. Wine is a cheap beverage that the local bars usually serve. Beer and other alcoholic beverages are available in some games, but most characters prefer wine. Harvest Moon 64's Hard-Drinking Party Girl Karen's favorite drink is wine because her parents own a vineyard.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In the series mythology, the symbol of Stendarr, the Aedric Divine God of Justice, Mercy, and Compassion, is wine flowing from a goblet. Within Skyrim, homeland of the Nords, it is instead flowing from a drinking horn.
    • In Oblivion, the city of Skingrad produces especially high-quality and expensive wines. 3E 399 was a famously good year; a master Alchemist can only be bribed with a vintage bottle from each of the city's two best wine makers.
      Gaston Surilie: A once-in-a-lifetime experience... if you can find a bottle.
  • Civilization VI: Catherine de Medici of France, mistress of culture and espionage, is always seen with a tall glass of champagne. Even during formal declarations of war.
  • Hades features Dionysus, God of Wine, as a minor character. Being set during Classical Mythology, where wine was the main alcoholic drink of note, Dionysus averts this trope by being a hedonistic drunkard. Zagreus can even use Dionysus' wine as a weapon by dipping his weapons in it to give his enemies divinely-inflicted hangovers, or throw explosive bottles of wine at enemies that leave behind clouds of alcohol that dizzies them.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The Literal Video version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" mentions "drinking wine douchebags" as a bunch of preppies make a toast.
  • Jacksfilms "Your Grammar Sucks" parodies this by speaking with a wine glass full of water when a commenter takes themselves too seriously (or, frequently, misspelled "college." The first time he does this is for a comment saying I'M IN COLLAGE.)


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