My friend Kathy likes to dress up her wineglasses with jewelry. Now Kathy is an otherwise sensible woman, not much given to dolling up household objects or, for that matter, herself (she regards lipstick with as much trepidation as another woman might plastic surgery). And yet she loves to decorate her glassware with wine charms—silver and glass trinkets shaped like ballerinas, wine barrels, tennis rackets and so forth. At last count she had more than 30 charms and said she was hoping for more. They won't, however, be coming from me.
I'm not a big fan of wine charms. Or, indeed, most wine "accessories." That includes ties printed with wine labels, T-shirts dyed in real Cabernet juice and monkey wine-bottle holders (yes, there are such things). Ditto for wine games, key chains and wine bottle "attire." (The oxymoronically titled company True Fabrications offers ways to "dress your wine" ranging from tuxedos to flapper dresses to a chef's jacket and toque.)
Frankly, I don't see how a costume can enhance a good bottle of wine. Or why a fondness for a particular vintner would be best expressed on a T-shirt or tie. And yet the accessories audience is immense, embracing far more than just oenophiles. Anyone with an identifiable hobby, favorite athletic team or preferred breed of dog is considered a fair tchotchke target. (As the owner of two corgis, I've been the recipient of much corgi-themed merchandise, including coffee mugs, clothing, artwork and books.) I've gotten my share of wine things as well, including socks that say WINE GIRL (a big hit with the airport security scanners), lots of grape leafprinted kitchenware and even a sign declaring ICI, ON BOIT DU BON VIN ("Here we drink good wine"). The latter was a gift from two well-meaning (and optimistic) friends. It hangs by our back door, giving guests a false sense of promise when they come to our house for dinner.