On your next trip to Trader Joe's you just might spot a mugshot on a bottle of Merlot. But don't worry or run away — this doesn't mean there was a prison break in your area. Instead this uptick in criminal activity on aisle wine is thanks to 19 Crimes, an Australian brand that touts bottles of vino labeled with vintage mugshots of criminals-turned-colonists.
The Story Behind the Bottle(s)
Beginning in 1776, Queen Victoria banished Great Britain's most notorious outlaws (read: anyone found guilty of committing at least one of 19 specific crimes) to Australia. These illegal acts ranged from serious to small — grand larceny, impersonating an Egyptian, and even stealing fish from a river or pond were punishable by banishment under her rule.
If this seems pretty extreme, you're right! But on the other hand being exiled is way better than being sentenced to death for such a crime. Although, death did come to some of the prisoners as they were traveling across the seas.
Luckily, for the ones who survived, things took a turn for the better: These British rogues managed to rebuild their lives from the ground up and formed a frontier penal colony in Australia.
Where Can You Buy 19 Crimes Wine?
The 19 Crimes brand, founded in 2012, celebrates these former felons. Most of the blends are red and feature tasty add-ins like brown sugar and rum (The Uprising), as well as vanilla and ripe raspberries (Shiraz). A single bottle will cost you between $13 and $25 and can be found in numerous grocery stores (like Trader Joe's!), and local liquor and wine shops, as well as in 19 Crimes' online store.
Shop online: 19 Crimes Wines
Even more nefarious is that these wines literally come to life with a touch of your smartphone. Using a first-of-its-kind augmented reality app, available now via the Apple App and Google Play stores, an animated version of each label's criminal character shares their story of rule-breaking and survival. How cool is that?
So if you're into true crime, uncork a bottle tonight.