The New Yorker Wine Cartoons

Five years ago a friend gave me a book of wine-inspired cartoons from The New Yorker. It has been years since I flipped through it. So, when it caught my eye this weekend, I picked it up. Many are worth a hearty laugh and a surprising number of them are oriented to the "cork dork" crowd. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising for a publication that appeals to erudite readers? Here are a few must-share funnies.

I do wish the cartoons were dated (the book was published in 2004), but some speak plainly of their eras. There are quite a few references along the lines of "Oh, Lord! Not another wine-and-cheese party!" and "We’d love to, but we had too much wine and cheese in the 80s." One drawing shows a bulky cell phone - à la Gordon Gekko’s antique when he gets out of prison - floating in an ice bucket. Another page shows a hunting dog returning (on hind paws) to his owner, who holds a smoking rifle, with a sommelier’s service towel in one “hand” and a tray in the other…with a wine glass and bottle of Cold Duck.

Some sketches invoke wine situations in which it behooves the glass-holder to have a clear action plan. One such scenario depicts two couples chatting at an art gallery opening. One woman says, "We go to these things hoping to discover either a terrific new artist or a good, cheap, drinkable California white." This comic reminds me of a pal who, in such situations, poses the question, "Is the wine better drinking for me or the nearest plant?" Another sketch conjures up memories of parents handing their teenager the keys to their nicest car, with an older gentleman decked out in bow tie pulling away a younger one from the crowd of a formal party. Handing a bottle of wine to the youngster he states, “Of course, not everybody can face this kind of responsibility.”

Then, there are the funnies of consumer fancies. A shining example is a gentleman telling his date, "I want Chardonnay, but I like saying 'Pinot Grigio.'" And, there’s a scene I endeavor to never imitate: an elderly couple at a wine store asks for “Something drinkable right now.” (I aim to have stocks of wines that are drinking well at their age, and I do hope it will have been aging in my own cellar for decades!)

And, finally, a hopeful one to which we can all raise a glass as we face the new year full of resolutions, some surely health-related: a guy sitting in an arm chair answers the telephone with a wine glass in hand and responds to the caller, “Not much--just flushing out my arteries.”