Wine Is Classy

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As long as you're painting a self-portrait, you may as well make yourself look classy.

Whenever a character is shown drinking wine, it's usually a good sign that person is high class or sophisticated. 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 it's the other way around) or to serve sparkling wine at room temperature (again, a "true" connoisseur knows you serve it chilled).

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

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 in the 21st century, 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 actually the fifth largest wine producing country in the world,[1] 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.

Can accompany Food Porn. Can overlap with Frothy Mugs of Water when substituted with "grape juice" for the kids. Subtrope of Drink Order. In the case of French wines, it can overlap with French Cuisine Is Haughty.

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.

Examples of Wine Is Classy include:

Anime and Manga

  • Kiddy Grade: Such "grape juice" is a favorite drink of Lumiere's.
  • The manga Kami no Shizuku (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.
  • Pegasus of Yu-Gi-Oh! 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".
  • 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.
    • All the members of the Black Organization have codenames relating to (and are often seen drinking) specific kinds of alcohol.
  • The ever classy Big Bad and Bad Boss Frieza from Dragonball Z often had a glass of wine with him in flashbacks.
  • France of Axis Powers Hetalia got one wine drinking scene in the anime.


  • Dracula never drinks... wine. He just offers it to his guests.
  • Sideways: So much so, 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 Poe's Tales of Terror, Vincent Price plays a cultured oeinophile 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.

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!"
  • The animated intro to the "Mystery" segment of Masterpiece Theater 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 connossieur 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 even were part of a wine club.


  • Oenophile[2] 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.
  • 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 brewed by the gods themselves.
  • In Nineteen Eighty-Four, 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?!
  • 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"
  • 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?
  • Shown in most (if not all) of the novels in the Aubrey-Maturin series, which echo British naval traditions from the Age of Sail. The foremast jacks (common seamen and able seamen) get beer or grog (half rum, half water, with some lime juice) with their meals, while the officers drink a few bottles of wine with each meal... until they run out while at sea, at which point everybody drinks grog.


  • Subverted in the song "Cabaret" in the musical Cabaret where wine drinking is associated with wild partying.

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.

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, 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.
  • 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 Yamato Nadeshiko, 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.

Western Animation

  • The "grape juice" variant shows up in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. In "Sisterhooves Social", Applejack and Applebloom throw a lot of grapes into what is clearly a traditional open wine fermentation cask used for grape stomping, and then jump in to crush 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.
  1. After Italy, France, Spain, and the United States
  2. "wine lover"