When the true crime network Investigation Discovery announced its new wine club back in early June, my initial reaction was to burst out laughing. Part of it was the punny names: The Perfect Accomplice Sauvignon Blanc, A Wine To Remember Red Wine Blend (inspired by “ID’s pre-forensic thriller,” A Crime To Remember), and My, My, My Merlot (riffing on retired detective and ID fan favorite Joe Kenda’s “my, my, my” catchphrase).
More than that, though, I was laughing because I felt seen. As an avid consumer of both wine and true crime television, I’m this product’s target audience. If I can make fun of myself for a moment, I’ve become a trope.
Drinking alone while watching true crime television is becoming a caricature in the way of crying alone into a pint of ice cream. The only thing I was missing at the time was a cat or several.
My relationship with this particular pairing developed a couple of years ago, just before I moved from the Bay Area, my hometown, to Atlanta, a city I’d only visited a handful of times, where I’d be joining my partner. Most nights after work, I’d have a glass or two of whatever wine I had picked up because the label looked best to me that day (I know). As I sipped, I would cook dinner and then plop down in front of the television, ready for whatever horrors were scheduled. Some nights, I packed boxes with the ominous narration in the background.
On one such occasion I was, by turns, horrified and laughing to tears at a show about “dangerous online interactions”: I was getting ready to move myself cross country, and it was to be with a man I had met through Twitter. On nights like these, when the events onscreen felt just a little too scary, wine acted as both a salve to ease me through a nerve-wracking life decision, as well as just plain liquid courage for a night of creepy TV. It became a soothing routine that I still maintain.
Letting the wine soften the edges of real terror in this way, I found myself living a cliché. Drinking alone while watching true crime television is becoming a caricature in the way of crying alone into a pint of ice cream. The only thing I was missing at the time was a cat or several.
So, sure, Investigation Discovery might be perpetuating a stereotype with their wine club, but it’s no harm to me. I, and many others, seem to have found a ritual that comforts us. On top of that, by launching this wine club, ID is showing they understand their viewers: the pressures we face, the ways we unwind. And that’s a business decision I will gladly—and literally—drink to.
Published: September 28, 2017