Memo to Wine Media: Pinot Chocolat was a Joke

When I first heard that New Zealand producer, Kim Crawford, was releasing a chocolate covered pinot noir called Pinot Chocolat, just in time for Easter, I thought, good idea. Chocolate? Pinot Noir? I’m down with both.

I’d never been a fan of KC’s Pinot Noir, so I figured a little cocoa flavor ought to perk it up. After all, Trentadue Winery in Sonoma County has been making Chocolate Amore – a merlot port infused with chocolate extract – for years. No biggie.

Still, I didn’t notice the date of the press release – April 1. I even watched the video released by the winery, but I didn’t watch to the very end when Wine Innovator Drew Redmond mentions an upcoming porridge wine and a camembert chardonnay. If I had, I would have known that this Pinot Chocolat was a hoax.

I forgot all about Pinot Chocolat until the day after the New Zealand Wine Festival, when checking the festival booklet in which the wine was not listed, I thought, whew, I didn’t miss it. Then, I bumped into my friend Susan, from Taylorwood, who told me she poured wine for KC at the evening tasting. I mentioned the Pinot Chocolat, and she laughed. “That was an April Fool’s joke!

Apparently, the Canadian wine media didn’t get the joke memo. I certainly didn’t, but then I wasn’t thinking much about it. The Georgia Straight’s wine writer, Jurgen Gothe apparently didn’t get the news either when he wrote about the wine as recently as May 14.

“New Zealand’s endlessly enterprising Kim Crawford Wines has just released the first wine in the world that combines chocolate and grapes in a decadent liquid treat. They got the first “vintage” of Pinot Chocolat out in time for Easter in the home market. It’s not here yet, but I have every confidence that it will come.”

Hold the confidence, Jurgen. You’ve been punked. But you weren’t alone. Lots of wine bloggers wrote in breathless terms about the wine in April, but few offered retractions after the joke was revealed at 8:45 pm New Zealand time on April 1st by the company’s PR man, Stacey Wilkinson:

“A big thanks to all of you that expressed their enjoyment of our April Fool’s. And I agree, a pinot chocolat does indeed sound divine. Who knows what the future may bring?”

So, it seems there’ll be no chocolate in pinot bottles coming to stores anytime soon. But, nothing stops us from stirring in a little chocolate sauce into a red wine right now. Try cabernet. I blend it with chocolate all the time – in my mouth.

In other news, a big bon chance to Dan Zepponi, who is leaving his job as President of Mission Hill to once again live the Napa Valley life, from whence he came. To a Sonoman, Napa is a four letter word, but I can’t help but feel a pang of envy.

As economically battered and drought ridden as it is, California is still a great state. I can’t wait to go back there in July for the Wine Bloggers Conference at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa. It appears that there is still space available for a few more wine bloggers, and for all the tasting and vineyard touring they’re offering, the price is more than reasonable.

And, how ’bout them Red Wings?

Mari Kane

Mari is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant, living in Vancouver, BC, the most wine-soaked town north of the 49th Parallel. She also blogs about WordPress web design at Blogsite Follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.