The Josh Wine Meme, Explained

Social media is the perfect place for a little joshing around, but if you've been online in the past week, you might have seen a particular kind of Josh making waves. We're referring to Josh Cellars wine, which thanks to X (formerly Twitter) user @OptimusGrind__ is having a viral moment. They tweeted a picture on January 6 depicting a bottle of the popular budget-friendly wine, along with the caption, "I'm not gonna keep telling y'all to grow up and leave that Stella & Barefoot alone."

The post kickstarted a barrage of (mostly negative) responses and quote tweets, which really took off when user @Zujabes riffed that, "For non wine drinkers, this is like someone driving a Hyundai making fun of a Kia driver." This quote tweet's engagement dwarfed the original post, which caught the attention of intrepid meme makers worldwide.

Many people began swapping in the name "Josh" for words in familiar alcohol-based slogans, like "It's Josh o'clock somewhere," which user @chillextremist captioned over a relaxing beachside photo of a Josh bottle and wine glass in the sand. Others looked to pop culture to demonstrate their ironic fandom, such as an uncredited meme featuring a faded picture of Disney's Goofy proclaiming, "gone off the jawrsh bro," surrounded by emojis. The wine is seemingly perfect fuel for irony-obsessed meme makers: If you're unfamiliar with the brand, you can laugh at the unique wine name, and those who do drink it can revel in folks' ironic love of the product.

What (or who) is Josh Wine?

Josh Cellars, the California winery that manufactures the meme-worthy beverage, was founded in 2007 and named after company founder Joseph Carr's late father. Far from being just fodder for an internet joke-off, the wine has been named the most popular table wine in the U.S., according to VinePair.

While the company has yet to respond to its exploding internet fame in the past week, one might speculate that the Josh marketing team is likely thrilled with the publicity. X user @chillextremist reckoned as much in a tweet showing a photo of an excited group of office workers accompanied by the caption, "Live look at Josh wine marketing department." The wine typically sells more than 5 million cases annually, so we'll have to wait and see if this viral exposure also gives them a sales bump.

This just goes to show that all it takes to spark an internet avalanche for your brand is one person making a simple joke. There's only one thing left to say about the power of online humor: Cheers!