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Everyone has their own little dating tricks to ensure that things go smoothly. Some guys have a go-to date restaurant — maybe that romantic little Cuban place that nobody seems to know about. Other guys bring up certain topics of conversation that they know are safe (“I’m just saying, I think Kate Middleton is the ideal modern princess…”). Me? I use lambrusco.

What is lambrusco? It’s a fizzy red wine from Italy, most commonly produced in Emilia-Romagna. Back in the Time of Disco, lambrusco was hyper-sweet and paired perfectly with fondue and Quaaludes. Nowadays, lambrusco is enjoying a resurgence thanks in part to the folks behind International Lambrusco Day and restaurants/wine sellers around the US that have realized there’s a place for cold, sparkling reds at the table. Lambruscos range from dry (secco) all the way to very sweet (dolce). I usually prefer the dolce, but that’s mostly because I like to break it out later in the evening (see below). One of the best things about lambrusco is that it won’t break the bank. I get my go-to bottles from Trader Joe’s and they run me a cool $5. A worthy investment when it means getting some extra face-time with your date.

So what do I mean when I say “I use lambrusco?” I don’t mean that I use it as a date-rape drug.* I mean that at the end of a particularly good date — could be a super-successful first date; could be a little later, depending on the situation — I’ll usually say something like, “Hey, I’m having a really great time. Have you ever tried lambrusco?” The answer is almost always no. I’ll launch into a quick description, like the paragraph above but without getting into price, and then I’ll ask if she’d like to come try some. “I just so happen to have a bottle at home!” I’ll say. That’s because I always have a bottle at home for this very occasion (or at least I did when I was single). By doing this, I avoid the very awkward come-home-with-me-so-we-can-make-out invitation. That’s a hard invitation to pull off and you open yourself up to the classic I-have-to-work-in-the-morning/wash-my-hair/feed-my-dog/cry-for-10-hours rebuttal. Now there’s a reason to come home with me. We’re going to drink some wine you’ve never heard of!

As I said, I prefer the lambruscos that swing towards dolce. So do most ladies. It tastes like a cross between a serious Malbec and a well-aged Hawaiian punch. Instead of playing the game where you pretend you’re trying to have a conversation, but really you just want to find the right moment to make your move, you get to enjoy a glass of wine. Invariably, I get a positive response from the dates that I’ve introduced to lambrusco. I also usually get to make out with said dates. It’s a win-win situation; I expand their wine horizons a little bit, they expand my make-out portfolio. Everyone goes home happy, sometimes even the next morning.

Give lambrusco a shot. It’s the wine equivalent of Michelle Obama: serious, caring, concerned with childhood obesity, but ready to get down if the mood is right. It says to your date: “I appreciate the finer things in life. I’m a sensitive man who drinks sensitive wine. I will most likely be good at kissing.” So go forth, young knight, and get a bottle of lambrusco to keep in reserve. Even if you don’t get to experience the sweet taste of a lambrusco victory, you’ll have a pretty good bottle of wine to keep you company as you cry yourself to sleep.

*Standard disclaimer: I’m not advocating the use of lambrusco to get your date drunk. Please don’t use lambrusco irresponsibly or for any nefarious purposes. It’s a very powerful mistress.

Read last week’s Heart Attack.

Have you ever used lambrusco to enhance your dating skills? Tell us about it in the comments. 

Jason Kessler writes many things for many outlets including, Sunset Magazine, and various TV shows you have and have not heard of. He lives in LA and has a problem with portion control.