Food & Drink

Josh Wine Was Viral Long Before the Memes

That’s exactly the brand’s sweet spot, says Mobley. She sipped Josh’s Merlot and Legacy Red Blend over the weekend and reported back on Monday: “They both tasted like stewed fruit,” she tells me, “what some people would call jammy.” It’s a flavor profile the influential wine critic Robert Parker would’ve called a “hedonistic fruit bomb,” and it just so happens to be a favorite in the US. “Josh fits the most widely found American palate,” says Mobley. Though she wouldn’t personally seek it out, Josh “assaults you with its big flavor, and there’s no shame in liking it.”

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Because of its persistent presence at functions and dinner parties, many people have been able to try a glass of Josh for free. “Someone brought it over to my house once, I think,” says one friend. Another says, “It was at a dinner party…and open.” It’s the kind of organic, word-of-mouth marketing that brands absolutely froth over. And in a market saturated with options that are barely differentiated from each other, it’s easy to see how customers exhausted with choice might default to Josh.

All of this has fueled the online fervor. Nothing kindles the meme fires quite like mass familiarity, and that the wine was already known and loved made its recent moment in the sun feel like one big inside joke. It’s the kind of happenstance, commercial virality that’s largely missing from the internet these days, especially as “brands try to force themselves into online discourse,” says Mull.

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Josh’s marketing team expects the resulting uptick in social media followers to translate to sales, though there’s no data yet. “We’re happily surprised with the online attention,” says Dan Kleinman, the chief brand officer. “So, our point of view is to let the memes flow.”

Naturally, a bunch of other dude-named wineries, like Justin and Bradley, have since entered the chat. “But they’re just pretenders to the throne,” says Mull. Josh is our king; long live Josh.

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