Not many viewers of Peaky Blinders, an internationally popular TV series about a 1920s British criminal gang, would associate it with the wines of St Emilion, but Thibault Bardet, of Vignobles Bardet, of obviously saw a potentially profitable link between them. Last year, after signing a contract with the BBC who own the series, and registering the Shelby Wine Co (named after the family at the heart of the story), he launched 6,000 cases of a pair of wines: a boldly-labelled 2018 St Emilion and a more classically-packaged St Emilion Grand Cru. Available from the company for €25 and €39 respectively, both wines were also exclusively distributed in the US by the DTC platform Vinsent.
Now they are being sold for two weeks from 7-21 December in a pop up shop at no. 8 Cours du 30 Juillet in the heart of Bordeaux. The initiative not only coincides with the Christmas gift-buying season, but also the launch of the latest series of Peaky Blinders.
Bardet implausibly claims to have blended the wines to the style Thomas Shelby the central character would have enjoyed and shipped into the UK a century ago, if the scriptwriters had actually suggested he’d done some wine importing. However, to be fair, according to the IMBD movie database, the gangster was seen drinking wine over 200 times in the first two series, as well as getting through a remarkable number of cigarettes.
This is not the first tine Bardet has leveraged a TV series to help sell a wine. In 2019, he launched a pair of wines ‘inspired by’ Game of Thrones. His ‘Dornish’ Côtes de Castillon was a short-lived project, however, because HBO contacted him to point out that there was already an officially authorised GoT wine.
Readers who struggle to imagine why anyone would buy Game of Thrones wine, or Peaky Blinders Bordeaux, or gin, or beer (both of which also exist), are quite simply out of touch with at least some modern consumers. Unlike M. Bardet, despite heading a business launched in 1704.