Wednesday, 16 August 2023 15:25

Where did "plonk" come from?

Written by  Bob Campbell MW

OPINON: I encourage students in my wine classes to ask questions.

Most can be answered on the spot. Occasionally I have to do a little research, in which case I learn something as well, which is a bonus.

At a recent course I was asked where the word ‘plonk’ came from. Was it perhaps the noise that a bottle makes when it is plonked down on a wooden table? I had no idea but the Oxford Companion to Wine (Fourth Edition) had the answer: Plonk is a derogatory term for rough wine of dubious quality. The sort of wine you would only drink if that was all there was. This term of Australian slang, which is also widely used in New Zealand, has been naturalised in Britain.

“During the First World War the French vin blanc with its un-English nasal vowels was adapted in various fantastic ways from “Von Blink”, which sounded like a German Officer, to plinketty plonk which suggested the twanging of a banjo. This was shortened to ‘plonk’, which coincidentally was also British soldiers slang for mud.”

Despite its etymology, plonk need not be white and if the word suggests any kind of wine in particular it is cheap, red and servied at a party.

More like this

Bob's Blog: Snail Scourge

OPINION: I have a 50% share in a vineyard and for the first time ever, snails are threatening to decimate my crop.

Drops of God

OPINION: Drops of God is a mini-series about a large wine inheritance and the civilised battle between a Japanese wine enthusiast, Issei, and a French woman whose nose bleeds when she tastes wine.

Bob's Blog: Going topless

OPINION: A year or so ago I congratulated Waiheke wine producer Destiny Bay for removing capsules from their bottles.

Bob's blog: Genuine forgeries

OPINION: The world’s most notorious wine forger has served his 10-year prison sentence and is back in business, creating wine forgeries for willing customers, writes W.Blake Gray in Wine Searcher.

» Latest Print Issues Online

Editorial

Biosecurity - Our Responsibility

Biosecurity - Our Responsibility

OPINION: The news could not have been more concerning – an industry member deliberately and illegally imported grapevines into New…

Editorial: Vintage Perspectives

Editorial: Vintage Perspectives

OPINION: In this edition we check out vintage perspectives from around New Zealand, with many reporting lighter than typical yields…

Popular Reads

Sustainability Success

Taking two sustainability awards at two events on a single evening felt like "true recognition" of the work Lawson's Dry…

Stellar support for Cropsy

New Zealand-based agritech startup Cropsy Technologies has raised $1.7 million in an extended and oversubscribed capital raise, including support from…

H2Ortigator - the plant babysitter

A New Zealand startup is offering a novel approach to irrigation and nutrition management, specifically designed to optimise the growth…