What Would Don Draper Drink?

She Sips and I are big fans of Mad Men, which starts up again this Sunday on AMC.  It’s a great show, if you aren’t watching it, you should be.  While the characters on that show always seem to be drinking (seriously — they drink at home, while socializing, and are CONSTANTLY drinking at the office — the 60s must have been pretty freakin’ cool), they don’t seem to drink wine that often on the show.

Don Draper is often seen ordering an Old Fashioned, sipping on Scotch, or popping open a can of beer, but he’s rarely seen drinking wine.  We’re not nearly old enough to have been around in the 60s, so that got us thinking.  What wine did people drink back then?  Surely wealthy, sophisticated New Yorkers such as Mr. Draper would have been familiar with all the finer things in life–wine included. 

So, we did a quick Google search about wine in the 60s.  We came across a very interesting article from Gourmet Magazine that was originally published in 1961.  It’s a vintage chart for French and German wines for the 1950 to 1960 vintages.

What struck me about this article is that some things never change.  I thought that rating wines/vintages on a point scale was new to the Robert Parker era.  Not so. This Gourmet article rates each vintage on a 20-point scale. 

The other thing that stood out to me is the reference to wine fraud.  If you follow the auction market, read Wine Spectator, or have read Billionaire’s Vinegar then you know about the alleged fraud in the collectible wine market.  Apparently that’s nothing new, as this article warns its readers about fraudulently labeled bottles of pre-1955 Rhones.

Research like this, make us want to write for Mad Men. That’s a cool job. Trying to figure out what was “in” forty-plus years ago. Real cool.

So, we want to know: What wine do you think Don Draper would drink? Were you old enough to drink wine in the 1960s and 70s? Tell us, what was popular back then? We want to know because we’re wine geeks. And think Don Draper is cool as shit.

Filed under: Mad Men

Tags: 1960s, 1970s, cocktails, Don Draper, Mad Men, TV, wine


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  • I believe in some of the dinner scenes from Season 1 (or Season 2)of Mad Men, there was a bottle of Chateau Haut Brion on the table. This would make sense as the first growths were the only one's readily imported back then.

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