Cherry Wine by Hozier: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation

Hozier is a poetic songwriter. He is an Irish singer and musician. He rose to international fame with his song “Take me to church”. Ever since then, he has found a particular set audience that deeply enjoys his music and the lyrics. He uses a lot of literary references in his songs, and this is what sets him apart. His voice is refreshing and is loved by people.

Cherry wine is one of its famous songs of Hozier. The song also became famous through the music video. It features the highly talented actress, Saorise Ronan. The video plays along with the lyrics, revealing the true meaning of the song in the end. The video is artistic, exploring rather deep disturbing social issues of domestic abuse. While the music video shows the man as the abuser in the relationship, the lyrics of the song suggest that the woman is the abuser.

What does the title mean?

Cherry Wine seems like a very different title. No one thinks of such a title when the theme is of abuse within a relationship. Hozier is known for his poetic annotations, and this is another one. Cherry wine is used as a reference in the song many times. It might be the reason that Hozier chose to name the song based on a reference. Another theory is that the title is Cherry Wine because of the stain that wine leaves. The repeated references to wine might also mean the same thing. The stain is hard to remove and often leaves the prints. It is similar to abuse in a relationship which often leaves an imprint on the mind of the victim. Cherry wine lyrics meaning is a lot layered, similar to the naming of the song.

Verse 1 – What does it mean?

Her eyes and words are so icy

Oh but she burns

Like rum on the fire

Hot and fast and angry as she can be

I walk my days on a wire.

Hozier starts with his poetic self. He is trying to find words to describe his lover. He is using contrasts to describe her. This confuses the listeners as to what is the true nature of the lover – is she cold or does she have warmth? This confusion is intentional as the singer himself is facing the same confusion. He is talking about the nature of his lover. She is not predictable, she can get angry, and is irrational at times. The singer says that he does not know how to behave. He is walking on a wire – carefully using his words and keeping a check on his actions.

What does the pre-chorus mean?

It looks ugly, but it’s clean,

Oh momma, don’t fuss over me.

Hozier’s poetic style of writing makes it difficult to decipher the cherry wine lyrics meaning. The pre-chorus drops a hint at the state of the relationship between the singer and his lover. It is not another love song, rather it holds deep meaning. The pre-chorus almost feels like the singer is talking to his lover. He is afraid of her fussing but he knows that he is right. He has done nothing wrong. The singer being afraid of her fussing is an indication of her erratic and angry nature.

What does the chorus mean?

The way she tells me I’m hers and she is mine

Open hand or closed fist would be fine

The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.

When the chorus starts, it almost feels like a love song. It is soft and poetic and resembles a passionate love affair. But as it proceeds, there are hints of abuse and force. Hozier’s choice of words like ‘closed fist’ indicates that there is much more to this relationship than casual banter. There might be instances of violence. The last line of the chorus strengthens this hypothesis. Cherry wine is referred to in the last verse with a reference to blood. The blood here indicates that there might be some instances of physical abuse as well.

Verse 2 – What does it mean?

Calls of guilty thrown at me

All while she stains

The sheets of some other

Thrown at me so powerfully

Just like she throws with the arm of her brother.

In the second verse, Hozier, with his soft voice, further reveals the actions of his lover. Calls of guilty indicate that the lover holds the singer responsible for everything. He uses the words like ‘thrown at me’ which strengthens the claims of abuse. The lover is pressing the singer. He might be in awe of his lover, and is unable to see the toxicity of the relationship they have.

What does the pre-chorus mean?

But I want it

It‘s a crime

That she’s not around most of the time.

The pre-chorus here reveals the toxic emotions of the singer as well. Cherry wine lyrics meaning has to be understood from both the toxicity of love shown and felt. The singer, who is aware of the actions of his lover, is still missing her. He thinks that the actual crime is that she is not around him all the time. He is unable to see her behavior behind his love. He is just considering the sweet parts and ignoring the messy ones. He wants more of the parts of his lover – even if she is hurting him.

Chorus – What does it mean?

The way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine

Open hand or closed fist would be fine

Blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.

The chorus is repeated again. It reminds the listeners to understand the true nature of things. Like the singer, the listeners should also not be spellbound by the lover. There is a dark side of this relationship and it should not be overlooked. The chorus is conflicting, complimenting and commenting on the actions of his lover. This is what puts the listeners in a fix.

Verse 3 – What does it mean?

Her fight and fury is fiery

Oh but she loves

Like sleep to the freezing

Sweet and right and merciful

I’m all but washed

In the tide of her breathing.

In this verse, the singer is all praises her. He is unable to look beyond the love he has for her. He is praising even the erratic parts of her. He has recognized that he is exhausted due to the relationship but he is justifying the same with love. He has told himself that she is the purest human out there, and everything she does is out of her nature. He has accepted her nature, and he loves her – even the bad parts.

Hozier, in this verse, is like many victims of abuse. They are unable to differentiate between what is love and what is not. Violence is not love but it is really difficult to convey this to the other person. They are blinded by the toxic addictive love.

Pre Chorus – What does it mean?

And it’s worth it, it’s divine

I have this some of the time.

Cherry wine lyrics meaning is to understand ho a person can be intertwined between love and violence. Hozier is justifying his lover here – even to the extent that he thinks that she is divine. She has a toxic loving style, and the singer believes that it is the right kind of love. This is the reason many abusers get away for years. They are able to manipulate and use love as a weapon.

Chorus – What does it mean?

The way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine

Open hand or closed fist would be fine

Blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.

The chorus is repeated again. The outro is the chorus. It perfectly sums up the relationship of the singer and his lover. They might have good moments – with love and compassion. But there are dark moments as well. Moments with blood and stains. These moments can not be overlooked.


Cherry Wine lyrics’ meaning is quite layered. Hozier is covering two contrasting sides in this song – he is talking of the abuse in the relationship and the thought process of the victim. He conveys the message of how love can be manipulated. Many victims of domestic abuse stay quiet because they think that violence is part of love. Violence and physical abuse are never love – they are means of force. Also, through the song, Hozier covers a taboo topic of abuse of men. Men are rarely considered on the victim side in cases of abuse. But, there are men who suffer from abuse. This song is in a way breaking that social norm as well.

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