Ripple Wine: An Old-Time Favorite That May Be Hard to Find
If you’ve ever heard of Ripple wine, you probably grew up or were at the very least around in the 60s and 70s. Ripple certainly is a strange name for a wine and there is a reason for that. Ripple wine, which is no longer around unless you can find a bottle unopened on eBay (and it probably would not be drinkable), was never about competing with fine wines for any sort of recognition or notoriety. Ripple wine, which was produced by AJ Gallo, was all about affordability and high alcohol content.
Ripple wine came in a wide variety of strange flavors such as Pagan Pink and Ripple Red. There was also Champipple, which was Ripple mixed with Champagne. These flavors obviously have little to do with fine wine; they are most similar to wine coolers if anything. Ripple wines, unlike fine wine or table wine, were not made to be paired with food or simply savored on their own, they were simply made to get you intoxicated. Ripple wine competed with beer and other similar cheap wines, rather than with fine wines, for the American alcohol drinkers’ dollars.
Ripple wine is one of those wines that is has gone the way of the dodo. If you are looking for something similar to Ripple these days, you would be best off looking for MD 20/20 (AKA Mad Dog), Night Train (the same one in the Guns ‘n Roses song, yes), Wild Irish Rose, or Boone’s Farms. All of these cheap wines have about the same sweet taste and pack the same alcohol wallop as Ripple did back in the days of Sanford and Son. Ripple wine was actually featured on that popular TV show as the favorite drink of the central protagonist, Fred Sanford.
For many would-be wine lovers, the prices that usually go along with wine serve as a great dissuader. If you don’t want to shell out a lot of money but want some wine, a cheap wine like Ripple was what you wanted in the 70s. These days, of course, you can’t get it. You can try one of the aforementioned brands or even take a step up to the next level of table wines, such as Alice, Red Truck, or the most popular, Yellow Tail.
Such table wines are usually under $10, but most will have a “doctor’s office/rubbing alcohol” aroma because of the quick, sub-par manufacturing process they use to be able to produce such chepa wine. It is great to have table wine on hand for all occasions. Many wine lovers , for instance, will reserve their more expensive wines for special occasions or meals, but will have a more affordable wine on-hand for everyday drinking. The aforementioned table wines are the perfect type of wines for this sort of thing, as there is a wide variety of reds and whites available amongst them that cover the spectrum and pretty much pair well with most dishes in one way or another.
Ripple wine has come and gone, but the memory of it stays fresh in the minds of many. In fact, many current wine aficionados got their start with Ripple wine when they were poor college students in the 70s looking for a cheap buzz. After Ripple, they began to wonder what else was out there and ascended the wine ladder until they reached the top. Don’t let “snooty” wine fans look down their nose at you for beign a fan of Ripple way back when – everybody has to start somewhere!
Besides, Ripple was much cheaper than going out and spending hundreds of dollars on expensive wine for a large party when all you wanted was a buzz. You weren’t looking to better your worldliness or culture and it was a great wine for breaking yourself into the wine world. Ripple was sweet and gentle on the palate and let everyone get in on the wine game at some level. If you’re hosting a large party any time soon and want some really cheap wine to accompany the festivities, however, get a good table wine, rather than one of the aforementioned cheap wines. Look around at all the different types of table wine out there and make a selection – you could even try one of each and have all of them open at a party so that any newbie wine drinkers at your party can try each one and decide which one they like best!