We all know Hello Kitty, the ubiquitous Japanese style icon whose black, unblinking eyes have graced just about every surface you could think of—from lunchboxes to toasters to faux vintage sweatshirts. The red bow and button nose have been a childhood staple for decades, but did you know the little white cat (actually, apparently, a human girl) has been rolling out her own wine collection since 2007, and her most recent lineup may just be your drink of choice this summer. What better way to beat the heat than with some adorably-packaged sparkling rosé?
Millennials have often been critiqued for their over-adherence to nostalgia, especially pop culture icons of the 90s and early 2000s. Similarly, rosé’s popularity in the summer months has skyrocketed, with specialty drinks like frosé leading menus at rooftop bars and weekend brunches alike. That’s where Hello Kitty wine comes in: what could be more millennial than getting drunk off of your elementary-school idol? Show that you’re grown-up but not really with something a little more upscale than a juicebox. And if your knowledge of wine is limited to the three-dollar section at Trader Joe’s, we’ve broken down Sanrio’s line of alcoholic beverages for your informed consumption.
Most of Hello Kitty’s wines come from Torti Winery in Montecalvo Versiggia, Italy, which specializes in the Pinot Nero that can be found in their Special Edition Sparkling Rosé. Hello Kitty’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, the newest 2019 additions, come from the Margerum Wine Company in Santa Barbara, which, according to their website, keeps the scale of production “at a level where we can touch and know the wine as it is raised to the bottle—the antithesis of mass production.” Hello Kitty is arguably one of the most mass-produced brands in the last century, which makes their foray into wine, a labor of time, love, and finicky investment, all the more interesting. The bottles can be bought individually or in combo packs like “The Breathtaking Combo,” or “The Everyday Combo,” in case you wanted to give the gift of Hello Kitty wine to a loved one. The line is also a considerable step up from your typical Barefoot or Yellowtail—the price per case ranges from $40 to $120, with the 2019/2020 collection in bulk totaling at $182.70. This is a steep price to pay for Hello Kitty’s blank stare on your bottle, but I would argue it’s worth it. Commit to the bit.
Even if you don’t end up popping a bottle from Japan’s cutest mogul, this guide should aid in any of your future wine-purchasing pursuits, and hopefully, encourage the average millennial think outside of the (Franzia) box.