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‘Tower 15’, ‘Troublemaker,’ what’s in a (wine’s) name? 

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 6.46.49 AMBy Fred Tasker–Post Bulletin

Ever wonder how wines get such quirky names — “Mollydooker,” “Big House White,” “Frenzy,” “Gnarly Head,” “Mossback?”

Here’s how:
The most colorful — even silly — of the monikers are called “fantasy” names, because they’re simply created in the winemaker’s head.

Iconic (and eccentric) California winemaker Randall Grahm named his Rhone-style red wine “Cigare Volant,” or “Flying Cigar,” the French term for “flying saucer,” in satirical honor of a local French ordinance banning the landing of alien spacecraft in the vineyards.

Grahm’s “Big House White,” when he owned it, was named because the winery was located near Soledad, Calif., home of the “Big House” — Soledad State Correctional Facility. He called its winemaker “The Warden.”

“Mollydooker” winery in Australia, which makes a fabulous shiraz, comes from the local term for “southpaw,” since both owners are left-handed.

Hope Family Vineyards winemaker Austin Hope says he calls his Rhone-style red blend “The Troublemaker” because he used to misbehave purposely to bait his father into punishing him by keeping him out of school and in the vineyard — which he loved.

“Tower 15” winery near Paso Robles is named for an historical lifeguard tower in Pacific Palisades, Calif. It makes a red blend appropriately called “The Swell.”

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.