We had 15 minutes left of the 2-hour premiere and wine hadn’t even been mentioned. Blue cocktails in Hawaii, vodka guzzling at work, puking up Old Fashioned’s at funerals. I was convinced that the opening scene with Don reading The Inferno was Matthew Weiner’s way of telling me to abandon all hope that anyone would drink wine ever again on this show. And then it happened: one of the grapefriendiest scenes EVER.
Don and Megan were having two couples over on New Year’s and they were all drinking a bottle of red with their fondue. From the sloping shoulders of the bottle, we can infer it was a Burgundy (Pinot Noir) though absolutely nothing else was detectable (and you know I rewound a few times to check).
Now, I only started the Mad Men wine count last season so I don’t have the official count on how many times Don drank wine in the first four seasons, but it was LOW. I went back through a few shots and thought maybe he would have at this dinner party, but no:
Anyway, I think Season 6 might be his time. It takes place in 1968, which marked the third vintage of Robert Mondavi, one of Napa’s pioneers. There were probably a handful of wineries that existed then, and in the late 60s and early 70s they really started to get make some headway. 1976 is widely marked as the year American wine had arrived, since a California wine beat a French wine in a huge blind tasting called the Judgment of Paris (it’s in the move Bottle Shock if you’ve seen it).
Anyway, if Season 6 is going to be all about death (which symbolically can also just mean death of a phase of life and the start of a new one) then Don could really move into wine. He’s primed for the French wines that were what was basically available in the US in 1968, and he’s made some big headway in the very first episode of the season (puked form his usual cocktail, but smiled while drinking wine). Let’s do this, Matty.
Mad Men season 6 wine count: 6