New Zealanders are mourning the end of one of the country’s cheapest sparkling wines, a beverage that for many was the defining drink of their youth, the cause of many bad decisions and a familiar presence at parties and weddings.
The death knell has sounded for the $10-a-bottle Bernadino spumante, colloquially known as “Bernadino spewmante”, “Bernie” or “the best party plonk”.
Lion New Zealand, the liquor company that owns and distributes Bernadino, told Stuff it was stopping production due to rising costs.
“The sparkling wine category is very competitive and with costs rising, unfortunately it has become commercially unviable to continue its production at this time,” a spokesperson said.
South City Liquor announced its demise on Facebook, attracting more than 16,000 comments from fans paying their condolences as though it were a life-long friend, sharing memories and occasionally cursing it for leading to arrests, drunken accidents and horrific hangovers.
Posting to Twitter, writer Anna Rawhiti-Connell reminisced: “Sad news about Bernadino Spewmuchly. We’ll always have the summer I swore to my parents I hadn’t been drinking while waving hands at them that had a Bernadino cork on each finger.”
Other consumers were thrown into a state of grief.
“My mums friend had a funeral for Bernardino, legit service, everyone dressed in black, Paul bearers [sic] and her son made a speech about how much it was apart [sic] of their life,” one fan commented under the Facebook post.
Another woman asked whether there was a support group “for those of us that need to get over our grief at losing a long lost friend”.
“First Passion Pop, now Bernie,” another fan said. “I am trying to be strong but there [is] only so much I can handle. Going to apply for a bereavement leave at work. Need at least 5 days.”