Wine and money are intractably linked because it takes plenty of money to buy a little good wine. You
have probably handed over your share of $100 dollar bills for some great Pinot Noir, but have you
ever taken the time to look at our funny money. In 2003, the U..S. Treasury began retooling our paper
currency to prevent North Korean counterfeiting. Now it is decorated in pastel colors.
Dan Neil, writing in the Los Angeles Times, notes that American bank notes picture “Dead White Men.”
He points out that “If we’ve relearned anything recently, it’s that politicians can’t be trusted. Why
should we require their image to ratify our money?”
I suggest that we put the images of notable wine luminaries on our money
because so much of it changes hands in the purchase of fine wine. I mean,
who better to trust than Robert Parker, Jr. who hands out wine scores with
unshakeable integrity. He accepts no bribes or advertising so he would
make a perfect monetary saint. I would propose that we put his picture on the
$100 dollar bill in honor of the 100 point wine scoring system. We could also
use him on a $1 million dollar bill, if we had one, to honor his “million dollar
Fred Fanzia, although some of his business practices at Bronco Wine Co have been reproachable,
would be perfect for the $2 bill (in honor of Two Buck Chuck sold nationwide at Trader Joe’s markets).
Big business wineries could also sponsor currency. How about the Mondavi $20 bill, the Gallo $10 bill,
and the Sebastiani $5 bill?
For the $1 bill we need someone ubiquitous, preferably a woman, to grace the bill.
Maybe no wine person is in the public eye enough to warrant such an honor. We
probably need to look outside wine for a figure here. We could consider Paris Hilton
and instead of “In God We Trust,” we could put “It’s Hot!” on the currency. Or maybe
Brittany Spears with the phrase “Howyadoin’” next to her mug shot. Actually, I think I
would vote for Rachel Ray because her face graces every newsstand in the country,
she is the face of food (and isn’t wine food?) and for $1 we can get a value meal at most
any fast food restaurant. “Yum O!”