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Stupid Wine Name of the Century

By night I write here about wine. By day I spend my time in the world of branding, customer experience, and marketing. As a result, I have a higher tolerance for, and a keen understanding of the value that brands hold in the marketplace, and an appreciation for efforts to differentiate in a crowded field.

All of this by way of saying that I can appreciate the idea of coming up with a distinctive name to use when referring to sparkling wine made in England. The Spanish have Cava, the Italians have Franciacorta and Spumante, after all.

But "Britagne?" You've got to be joking.

Pronounced "bri-TAN-yay" or something close to that, I suppose it is supposed to convey the elegance of Champagne while remaining decidedly, well, British.

Never mind that most everyone will try to pronounce it "brit-AYNE" given the immediate analog to Champagne. Never mind that the rest of the English speaking world does fine with referring to their wines as Sparkling Wines without much of a problem. Never mind that by using a neologism that basically has a French etymology you're undermining your efforts to try to create something distinctly English.

Even ignoring all of that, it's just lame.

Comments (17)

Tyler wrote:
07.13.11 at 5:36 AM

I kind of like how one of the commenter suggested "seraphim" as a name for the wine; it's a little unique, implies quality and lightness, and is pronounced like it's spelled... "let's celebrate with some seraphim" sounds much better than "let's celebrate with some brittany," (if the speaker knows the proper pronunciation) or "let's celebrate with some britagne" (assuming they don't).

CJ and PK wrote:
07.13.11 at 8:18 AM

Of course, British sparkling wine has received much more coverage by coming up with a lame name than it ever would have by thinking of a good one...

07.13.11 at 11:27 AM

Ha! I was thinking the same thing. I do think it's a great name to discourage sales.

I think the Cougar Juice name is still available.

tom barras wrote:
07.13.11 at 3:49 PM

Kinda reminds me of the CA producers who came up with "Meritage" that everyone pronounces "Meri-tahj."

Has ANYBODY every gone into a wine store and asked for a "Meritage?"

Same likelihood for Britagne.

Izzy wrote:
07.13.11 at 7:12 PM

I hope they didn't pay a fortune to some branding "specialist" for this. On second thought, perhaps they deserve to!

cassius wrote:
07.13.11 at 9:16 PM

It's still not as bad as Australia's new name for muscadelle, topaque.

Mark wrote:
07.14.11 at 3:53 PM

I think part of the problem is that quite a few wineries have gotten a ton of press and sales from naming alone. If you can't beat them, join them.

07.19.11 at 5:37 AM

I used to represent a well known Oregon winery that came up with a very nondescript name for their new red blend. They said since I didn't like their name what would I call the blend---I said OREGASM; at least it conveys a powerful experience!!!

Miquel wrote:
07.27.11 at 2:22 PM

While I'm completely up to be proven wrong, is there even a British Sparkling Wine that's worthy of the time to create a name for them?

I do wonder why in English we opted to use mostly French names for wines when ones such as Grenache are actually from Catalonia/Spain and called Garnacha. Why didn't we just create a new, English-y name?

Carl wrote:
08.07.11 at 10:21 AM

How about the best name for a wine? I've got some friends in SF that are bottling a zin blend called Sexual Chocolate. How cool is that???

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