This post is dedicated to my friends who carry the burlesque torch!
Once in awhile, I spot burlesque imagery on a wine bottle. As a former burlesque dancer, it gets my attention. As a self-identified girly-girl, it gets my attention. I love to look at ornamental, vintage objects and designs. Especially if there is a pretty woman, adorned in sparkles, beads, and feathers. But this wine- I will never buy, and I will tell you why.
This week, I found the bottle above, while researching Bo Diddley, of all things (Thanks internet!). This led me to a music blog talking about another musician, Jimmy Reed, who sang the radio jingle for Gypsy Rose wine, made by Gallo wine company back in the 1960’s. Was the name used to ride on the fame of the performer herself? New York Public Library archives show that Gypsy Rose Lee archives contain papers regarding a lawsuit with Gallo Wine in 1959. At WinesTheWorldOver, you can see this bottle and other vintage wine and bar photos:)
Now back to discussing the contemporary wine: Gypsy Lee rosé. This is the first wine I have seen which utilizes a real, legendary burlesque performer: Gypsy Rose Lee (not Gypsy Lee Rose, or Gypsy Lee, which is what this wine appears to be called). The wine is apparently owned by Virgin, who has a major online wine market in the U.K. selling all kinds of wine- good and bad, known and unknown. This is the same Virgin corporation that owns all of the other stuff- the airline, the former record store chain, etc.
Gypsy Rose Lee’s success in the art of striptease, was not so much the strip, but the tease. And I see what you are doing with this imagery, Virgin Wine Company. You are covering her boobs with her hair and a feather. Her legs are closed just enough. You are leaving it up to our imagination just like Gypsy did. Witty. But not as witty as her! This was not how she did it.
I am disappointed. I wish the imagery used was more spot on with the legend. I wish her persona wasn’t connected with a cheap wine and a novelty label. I wish the image was more true to her style and persona. I wish there was more grandeur and respect. She didn’t just sit around naked. She was a world class entertainer.
In true Gypsy Rose Lee fashion, “you gotta have a gimmick”. But that applies to getting someone’s attention. Past the gimmick, you need to hold my attention, and deliver the goods. I resent labels like this because of my own personal ties. But for the typical consumer, what does this label offer beyond the gimmick to notice the wine? Everytime I see labels like this, my gut tells me the same juice is in 10 other bottles on the grocer’s shelf, with 10 different labels to appeal to 10 different demographics of people who need to hurry up and buy a cheap bottle of wine and get out of the store ASAP.
I have never bought a wine with burlesque imagery on the labels, because they are always on cheap bottles, that do not offer any modicum of information that allows me to make an informed purchase.
I do not knock cheap wine, but I knock cheap wine that tries to lure me in with pretty pictures and colors. I will knock it even more when a burlesque legend is not shown the proper respect when using her name as a marketing ploy.
I offer this critique to my beloved wine industry, and no judgement or snobbery to my fellow wine consumers. Cheap wine is better than no wine, in my book. How can you find the cheap gems with out digging thru the heap of novel eye-candy labels?
The term table wine/vin du table, is a term, because it is real, and it is a necessity in any wine drinker’s life. It is unnecessary to spend a lot of money to drink good wine, and it is unreasonable to try to always drink higher priced wines on a daily/weekly basis.
But I will rely on my friends and peers and shelf talkers before I rely on the graphics on a label. Especially when it commits such a folly.
R.I.P. Gypsy Rose Lee
The classic must-see:
A pretty photo montage:
You gotta have a gimmick, but then what…