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Bringing the fun back into wine

So, this is my first blog...I didn’t really know what a blog entails even though I have read a few, so I asked, Juliet, my 18-year-old daughter, for some guidance, considering that she is current, and I am not.  She informed me that in a personal sense it’s about story telling with a message and in a business sense it is about education.  So, I have decided to incorporate a bit of both…here goes…

I have been doing everything wine for over 28 years and I have come to realize that this everyday commodity is full of allure, mystic and a bucket full of pretense.  The most difficult thing to order in a bar or restaurant is a glass of wine and we haven’t even got  to the responsibility of choosing a wine from the wine list for a table.  It seems so much easier to just order a whisky on the rocks or with soda; a gin and tonic or an ice-cold beer.  Asking for a glass of white or red leads to a myriad of questions…

Would you like an off dry or dry white?  Would you prefer a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay?  A Merlot, Pinotage or Cabernet Sauvignon?  Would you like an ice bucket with that or just some ice on the side?  For anyone who has not done a lifetime of wine studies, a slow panic will rise, at this moment, from the pit of their stomach to their chest as their mind races through the best possible responses.

  Every time I have a chat to a wine novice (in a wine industry sense) and asked them what they thought about a specific wine, the first thing they say is that they know nothing about wine but liked it.  Guess what?  If you can answer whether you like a wine or not, that’s about 90% you need to know about wine.  The rest is just window dressing – the exact part that makes wine so very pretentious…

Wine should be fun!  In its real essence it is just another commodity, but it should be filled with joy…a reminder of togetherness, special moments in time, beautiful memories - a celebration of life.

A few years ago, a friend of mine in the industry, who was a foodie and journalist at the time, told me how he had been berated by a fellow journalist for writing up a wine this specific person considered to be very average and commercial.  He explained to me, that he had set up a long trestle table with chairs under the willow tree on a beautiful summer’s day.  He invited his closest and dearest and made sure the table, covered in a red and white checkered tablecloth, was heaving with colorful platters of everything delicious.  Food and wine flowed, and everyone had a great time of course!  His answer to the pretentious journalist, who criticized his wine choice that day, was quite simply: “I am sorry you weren’t there…”

Therefore, if you are one of those people that feel intimidated by wine, please don’t!  All you need to know is whether you like a wine or not and yes, you are allowed to say that you don’t like a specific wine, even if it has a million awards.  Taste is a very personal thing, just like art.

In closing, always remember the best wine at any specific moment in time is the one in your glass!

Santé!, Cheers! Prost! Gesondheid! Salut !