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Down and out on the farm

During a visit to the supermarket the other day, my eye landed on something that prompted a reflexive wince and an unstoppable shudder. And this is what it was:

title or description

Not long ago, I asked a friend why we drank Boone's Farm in high school. "Because we couldn't afford anything else," he replied—an answer I was somewhat relieved to hear, because at least it provided a rationale for an otherwise irrational act.

Back in the day, Boone's Farm cost a dollar a bottle. Bear in mind that we're talking about a 1972 dollar, which is the equivalent of five bucks and change today. However: If wine-searcher.com is a reliable guide, a bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill today costs anywhere from $2.79 a bottle in Sacramento to—dig this—$6.94 a bottle in Saratoga, NY. But that number is an outlier. The typical highest price is $4.99 a bottle.

It very well may be that the Boone's Farm production process has evolved over the years to the point where today, its vintages are real palate-pleasers. Alas, I never will know, because my palate has a long memory.

Most of my friends were beer-drinkers back then, but truth be told, I didn't like the taste of beer. I stayed away from wine of certain labels—MD 20/20, Night Train Express, Richard's Wild Irish Rose, Ripple, and Thunderbird—because of horror stories I heard. (Speaking of these beverages, here's a great website to refresh your memories of them—and if you drank them, you probably can't remember a whole lot: http://www.bumwine.com/)

After learning that Strawberry Hill tasted nothing like strawberries and that their apple wine tasted like perhaps it was distilled from crab apples, I opted for a vintage Boone's Farm doesn't offer anymore: Wild Mountain grape wine. It was purple, but all similarities to grapes ended there. Every sip was a test of nerves: first, working up the courage to take a sip; second, making the "ewwwww" face when the taste hit your tongue; and third, a head-to-toe shudder after swallowing it.

As I suggested above, these beverages destroyed many of my brain cells. I only have partial memories left of life on the farm. The most detailed memory I have of drinking Boone's Farm Wild Mountain involves a high school homecoming weekend a bunch of us came home for during our freshman year of college. That Saturday night, we went to a house party. I had guzzled two bottles of Wild Mountain—maybe even three—and in a grand flourish as we left the house, I wiped my wine-purpled lips on the house's living room drapes. Which were white.

I have one more partial memory, but readers with sensitive stomachs should not continue. I'm warning you. Stop reading now. I can't take responsibility for what will happen to you if you keep reading.

Still with me? OK. This also occurred during my freshman year in college, before I had learned to leave childish things like cheap wine behind. One Friday night, I drank too much Boone's Farm too soon after having spaghetti for supper. When the spaghetti made its inevitable reappearance, it was pale purple like lilacs. I could have sworn the strands slithered like snakes.

I told you to stop reading, but you wouldn't listen.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 30th, 2013 01:23 am (UTC)
Wait, what? You saw wine in a grocery store? How can that be? Up here, all the little liquor stores are fighting the mighty Wegmans in court to prohibit wine sales in grocery stores. It's the only thing Wegmans has ever done that I'm not happy with, since a little liquor store employs one surly youth of mine.

Now, on to the flavors. I don't remember grape AT ALL. Only strawberry and apple, but I don't even think I drank the apple one.

Speaking of wine-purple lips, tell the lovely Mrs. I say hello. Memories...
Jan. 30th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
I think you probably drank some grape wine, but the memory brain cells self-destructed.

I will relay your greeting, in its context, to Sherry after she gets home from work. It will make her laugh, I'm sure.

Jan. 30th, 2013 02:28 am (UTC)
I passed your greeting along. She laughed and said, "Oh. Real nice."
Jan. 30th, 2013 01:30 am (UTC)
I was with you until the pasta....
Jan. 30th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
I warned you.
Jan. 30th, 2013 05:26 am (UTC)
I remember a night when we were freshman. Too much peppermint schnapps and the lasagna "soup" in the dinning hall. My roomies called security at 3am, as they thought I was dead. To this day, just the smell of peppermint schnapps makes me ill.

Oh, and felixwas, I was with you the entire way, for the above stated reason.
Jan. 30th, 2013 10:30 pm (UTC)
You know you've had too much to drink when the people with you think you're dead. As for your aversion to the smell of schnapps, I am that way today about tequila. But those are tales for another time.
Jan. 30th, 2013 01:46 am (UTC)
AAH! The memories of Boone’s Farm wines…Remember when they came out with the jugs of Boones Farm, the Nightlite used to sell them for 2 bucks and if you were on a date you could get two for $3.50. An old girlfriend used to save the empties in her room and put flowers and stuff in them. I don’t think there is a worse hangover than a Boones Farm one. I remember the same effects from my first bout with Colt 45 Malt Liquor…woke up the next morning with hair on my chest. A friend of mine once told me that a shot of Peppermint Schnapps would settle my stomach…it sure did…all over my shoes.
Jan. 30th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
If I ever knew about jugs of Boone's Farm, my mind is repressing the memories.

Colt 45? Never tried it.

I went through a brief phase when I drank a lot of peach schnapps. A lot. Too much. Was able to walk back from it, fortunately.
Jan. 30th, 2013 04:49 pm (UTC)
Back in the day, I didn't like wine either. I used to drink a vile concoction called Tango. It was an orange-juice like substance mixed & bottled with vodka. (I guess it was probably Tang, thus the name Tango.) I still like orange juice, and vodka, just not together.
Oh, and I did the Spaghetti Refund after a night of Genny Cream Ale. It was 35 cents a glass at the Hut - a bargain I couldn't resist.
I miss those brain cells.
Jan. 30th, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
Tango. Always feared.

Genny Cream Ale? I only ever drank it once, and I got so loaded that even the pope couldn't help me.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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