Santa loves his hock
We all know that Santa drinks more than a few glasses of port, beer and other beverages that have been left for him, when making his special deliveries around the world. But did you know that Santa also enjoys drinking hock? The Australasian newspaper printed this advertisement for Seppelts Great Western Sparkling Hock, featuring a not-so-jolly looking Santa (his expression is rather disquieting) dressed in a hooded robe, on 14 December, 1929. So what exactly is hock?
Hock wine is derived from the name of the town located in the German wine region of the Rheinegau (Rhine district). During the 15th century, Hochheim am Main became a major producer and exporter of white wine. The trade grew when Britain brought over members of the German Protestant aristocracy to join their royal family. George I, George II, and George III of the House of Hanover, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, were German born or of German heritage. When Queen Victoria visited Hochheim and its vineyards during the grape harvest of 1850, wines from this region would probably have become more popular.
In Britain the English called Hochheimer wine ‘hockamer’ or ‘hockamore’, which in the common speech then became hogmar, then eventually hock! At first hock referred only to white wine from the Rhine region, usually Riesling. By the 19th century, any white wine imported from Germany became known as hock. Initially German wines were expensive and considered even more prestigious than those from the French wine regions of Burgandy and Bordeaux. What was once a quality import eventually gave way to transports of cheap inferior wine, which of course, sold widely.
If you have ever eaten wine gums manufactured by the Waterbridge company in England, you might have noticed that one of the sweets is even stamped with the flavour Hock! White wine was also an ingredient used in the old fashioned Australian drink ‘hock, lime and lemon’.