Does Wine Deserve an Emmy?

From Succession to Curb Your Enthusiasm to Ray Donovan to Squid Game, Wine is answering the casting call on television’s biggest hits … but it's not always as glamorous as it looks

Does Wine Deserve an Emmy?
Succession's Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) demands only the finest wines of Spain. (David Russell/HBO)
Oct 28, 2021

Did you catch that performance by Wine in the season 3 premiere of HBO’s Succession? Everyone’s been talking about it … hot on the heels of Wine’s supporting roles in Showtime's Ray Donovan and Netflix's Squid Game. And then Wine showed up again, in the season 11 premiere of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm last week. There’s no doubt about it: Wine has some serious Hollywood industry heat.

Binge-watchers beware: spoilers ahead …

Earlier this month, wine-loving Succession fans were treated to a storyline about a rare magnum of Spanish wine: 1996 Pingus. In the episode, Cousin Greg (played by Nicholas Braun) pulls a classic “Greg,” opening the prized bottle without realizing its importance to Rava Roy (Natalie Gold).

"Did you not see that there was dust all over the bottle?!" Rava asks Greg and her husband, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong). She then explains it was a gift from her godfather. "Guys, drink it and enjoy it," she fumes. "It's like when someone breaks something beautiful and it reminds you that nothing lasts."

Actors Nicholas Braun and Natalie Gold on the set of HBO's Succession]
Cousin Greg gets himself into yet another mess … (David Russell/HBO)

"It was a funny feeling for me to see my wine on TV," Pingus winemaker Peter Sisseck told Wine Spectator. "I am very honored that [HBO] used my wine, as it is a very special wine."

Netflix’s blockbuster hit Squid Game also cast Wine in a cameo role for eagle-eyed Burgundy lovers, in the form of a bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. And Bordeaux first-growth Château Haut-Brion showed up in a recent season 5 episode of Showtime's Billions: “I’ve always wanted to taste this vintage. It’s king of wines, wine of kings …” says Chuck Rhodes (Paul Giamatti). “Why, it’s my house red!” smirks Bobby Axelrod (Damien Lewis).

Wine also got some work in the season 6 finale of Ray Donovan, when Paso Robles’ Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Adelaida District 2016 stole the scene. But not all star turns have happy endings. Tablas Creek marketing director Ian Consoli says he was contacted by a product designer who agreed to cast Tablas Creek on the show in exchange for $5,000 and multiple cases of wine. Tablas Creek fans enjoyed seeing their favorite wine on TV but, ultimately, Consoli decided it wasn’t worth the cost.

"Communication wasn't great, and we only received the one appearance when we had been promised multiple," Consoli told Wine Spectator via email. "For a smaller winery like ours, the cost was prohibitive, and we decided to direct those funds elsewhere. It was a really cool experience though!"

Most recently, Wine played the villain in the season 11 premiere of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. When Larry David spills a glass of red wine on a couch, he searches for anyone else to blame as Wine once again leaves a lasting impression.

With all of these on-screen appearances, it’s only a matter of time before Wine makes the move from behind the bar at the Emmy Awards to making acceptance speeches of its own.


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