P is for Plonk

Horace Rumpole, aka Rumpole of the Bailey, in case you don’t know, frequents Pommeroy’s Wine Bar, a “wine bar” supposedly being a bar that only serves wine, though Pommeroy’s seems to serve sandwiches and mixed drinks, as well.

Rumpole usually buys a glass or a bottle of what he calls Pommeroy’s Plonk. “Plonk” is a word of Australian origin, now common in Great Britain. During World War I, UK soldiers stationed in France came into contact with white wine (in French, vin blanc). This was transformed into ving blong, vin blank, von blink, point blank and plinketty plonk. By 1933, the term plonk was common enough to be used in court. Also by that time, it meant or implied bad or cheap wine of any color or from any source. These days, it usually refers to cheap red wine, a far cry from the (probably) delicious French white wine which inspired the word.

The only red wine I can drink these days is Chianti. For some reason, Chianti doesn’t give me the immediate and punishing headache other red wines do, even if the other red wines are expensive and the Chianti is a dollar a gallon. Is it a contradiction in terms to be have a discriminating palate in plonks?

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character is in a quality restaurant when someone orders a glass of plinketty plonk. How does the character react, feel, think, behave, speak? The character could be with the person ordering, at a different table, passing, or could be part of the restaurant staff.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “P is for Plonk

  1. Jane

    April 18, 2012 at 8:19am

    This reminds me of a classic New Yorker cartoon depicting a tanker truck going down the road sporting a label reading: Cheap White Wine.

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