We went out to dinner last night to an Italian-themed BYOB here in Newtown, Florentino's (which is excellent, BTW: a great find for us, and it's become our celebration spot). We were celebrating Cathy's latest promotion; she's doing very well with the new company. I took along a bottle of wine I picked up last week (and I was surprised to learn that it's available by special order from the PLCB), "Drink 'n' Stick," from "Some Young Punks," an Aussie outfit we were introduced to at a wine tasting in Portland, ME, last year.
Drink 'n' Stick is a Shiraz blend, a type we've come to enjoy, and we enjoy the irreverent labels and attitude of the Young Punks, too. Drink 'n' Stick, for example, has a "paper doll" label with a young woman and a variety of plastic press-on clothes to dress her with. As you can see by the succession of pix on the right, you can undress her, too, right down to the skivvies she's wearing in the actual paper label. Woo-woo and ooo-la-la, eh? (I apologize for the quality of the other two labels: they're small copies of two of SYP's other wines from the back of the Drink 'n' Stick label, but you get the idea.)
I swear, that's not why I got the bottle. I got it because we'd had a bottle of one of their other wines, "Passion has Red Lips," and really enjoyed it (better than this one: it was a bit inky and thick, and the fruit and acidity were smothered), and they were both quite reasonably priced. (I've yet to have a bottle of wine that cost more than $25 that I really thought was significantly better than a $15 bottle. This troubles me.)
But as we were eating, Cathy picks up the bottle, looks at skivvies-girl, and asks me, "If this was a beer label, would they have approved it?" Good question! Given the stuff that has been banned on beer labels -- Santa, the Mannekin Pis statue, Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" (and just why didn't Liberty take a minute to pin up her magnificent decolletage, anyway?) -- and then seeing this, it sure looks like a double standard to me.
Wine gets other breaks, too. For instance, wineries are often considered "farm" businesses, which gets them special considerations on taxes, permits, and sales...even when they have no vines on their property and buy all their grapes. Wineries are usually allowed to sell bottles of wine for take-home at festivals. Wineries in PA get to have stores to sell their products, other than at the winery. Brewers get none of that (don't even ask about distillers, the PLCB keeps a tight rein on spirits).
Fair? Well...no, but neither are the wildly different rates of taxation on beer, wine, and spirits: beer gets a huge break there. Federal's different, but most states are even more so: Pennsylvania, for example, charges only 8¢ a gallon tax on beer; wine is much more (and much more complicated, too). So it's not all one-sided.
Made for a fun conversation over an empty bottle of wine, though!