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Wines and Wit From the Viral Instagrammer @ShittyWineMemes

The anonymous somm beloved by wine geeks shares their top bottles

Janice Williams By February 18, 2022
ShittyWineMemes photo illustration with possum and wine bottles
Photo illustration by Pix

Coming up with catchy wine puns is no easy feat. For starters, you have to know your audience and have a lot of inside knowledge about the wine and hospitality industry. 

The Instagram influencer behind the viral account @ShittyWineMemes has experience in both. Having worked several positions across the industry for the last 10 years, @ShittyWineMemes is well-versed in the differences between Crémant and Champagne. They know why wine may give drinkers a headache — guzzling down a whole bottle of 15% alcohol by volume red blend while not staying hydrated could have something to do with it — and what the best methods are for writing yet another “useless tasting note.” They also have the right words to articulate the feelings that come with stumbling upon an exquisite charcuterie board. 

But the account is shrouded in mystery. While @ShittyWineMemes loves to crack a joke that only serious students of wine could understand, nobody knows who exactly manages the account. 

It doesn’t really matter, because the wine trade is there for @ShittyWineMemes’ hot takes. 

The birth of a hit

The account, which launched in 2019, now has more than 56,000 followers, and it’s growing daily. They have even launched a line of pins, stickers, magnets, and coasters, with some proceeds donated to The Roots Fund. And it all started from a text with friends. 

“I was making some memes and sending them to my wine geek friends. One day I decided to create a page, and I named it for what it was — shitty wine memes. When the pandemic began, I had more time on my hands, so I challenged myself to create one meme a day and keep the page consistent. I never expected the account to be so popular,” @ShittyWineMemes says. 

A career in wine and a popular Instagram account weren’t originally part of @shittywinememe’s life plan. 

ShittyWineMemes enamel pins on denim jacket

ShittyWineMemes now sells merchandise thanks to the popularity of their Instagram account. Photo courtesy of ShittyWineMemes.

“Initially, I was studying psychology, but I quickly realized that it was not the field I wanted a career in. I worked in restaurants while attending school, and I enjoyed giving guests a great dining experience. After taking the wine course, I decided to pursue wine-focused roles,” @ShittyWineMemes says. 

The account creator adds, “There are an endless number of styles out there. It feels like my palate is constantly changing, and I enjoy the pursuit of finding a fantastic wine at a great value. And I really like learning about wine.”

Over the years, @shittywinememes’ studies and work in wine have led to many roles across the industry from helping drinkers choose bottles at restaurants to managing wine distribution and working in retail. Their favorite role, however, was as a sommelier at a small wine bar in Florida. 

“We had a unique wine list, and a lot of open-minded guests and regulars. I loved the challenge of finding a wine they could be excited about. It was rewarding,” @ShittyWineMemes explains, adding, “I also got to sample a lot in that role, and it helped me grow my Rolodex of wine.”

The many roles @ShittyWineMemes has worked across the industry, and the many interactions shared with other wine enthusiasts inspire the memes that keep followers entertained.

“If you have thought or experienced something working in the industry chances are that someone somewhere has had a similar experience and can relate. Also, the wine industry loves shitty wine puns,” @ShittyWineMemes says. 

It also helps that the wine scene in Miami, where @ShittyWineMemes is located, is buzzing with new energy.

“People are getting very creative with their wine programs. I love being outside in a laid-back atmosphere with a great wine selection,” says @ShittyWineMemes. “I’ve been in Miami for most of my life, and I have seen more bottles of wine on tables when I am out than ever before. It’s exciting.” 

“There are an endless number of styles out there. It feels like my palate is constantly changing, and I enjoy the pursuit of finding a fantastic wine at a great value. And I really like learning about wine.”

The @ShittyWineMemes approach to wine

As @ShittyWineMemes tells it, the best time to enjoy a glass of wine is “when it is at an ideal temperature.” 

The Instagrammer advises that “Wine can be more casual with friends as a backdrop, or it can be the center of attention amongst fellow wine nerds. It can be sipped during dinner, an intermission of a video game, or while the next episode of whatever show I am binge-watching loads of TV.” They add, “I am a big believer in quality over quantity when it comes to wine. Also staying hydrated.”

Here are a few go-to bottles @ShittyWineMemes often chooses when the mood for wine strikes. 

bottle of Mathiasson Linda Vista Napa Valley Chardonnay 2019

Matthiasson Linda Vista Napa Valley Chardonnay 2019 (~$34)

“There are a lot of Chardonnay haters out there, but I just think they haven’t found the right one yet,” says @ShittyWineMemes. This one from Matthiasson in Napa Valley is perfect for changing drinkers’ minds, according to @ShittyWineMemes. The Chardonnay is picked during different times of the harvest to create a wine that is bright and balanced with yellow apple and fleshy tropical fruit nuances, refreshing acidity, and a notably clean finish.

bottle of Ltd+ Noble Dry Eola Springs Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills Chenin Blanc 2019

Limited Addition Noble Dry Eola Springs Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2019 (~$35)

“This is one that always blows me away,” @ShittyWineMemes says of Chenin Blanc. Limited Addition is the project of Chad Stock, founder of Minimus, and Bree Stock MW, which launched in 2018 in Eola-Amity Hills within Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The wine is low in alcohol and has “honeyed aromas of dessert wine, but is a dry, expressive wine made from Chenin Blanc,” says @ShittyWineMemes.

bottle of Sottimano Maté Piedmont Rosso 2020

Azienda Agricola Sottimano Maté Piedmont Rosso 2018 (~$18)

When it comes to light, crushable red wines, @ShittyWineMemes turns to this bottle of Brachetto from Piedmont. “It’s a dry still wine made from the Brachetto grape. It has tart cherry and floral aromas that are mesmerizing. Whenever I see a bottle in a store, I grab it.”