Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wine is Meant to be Shared

My husband has been undergoing a pretty serious medical treatment for three months now. He is not drinking alcohol during this time, and his diet consists of pretty mild food. It doesn't bother him at all that I still have wine with my meal, or eat different things than him. However, I have found that I don't enjoy my meals or the wine nearly as much as I used to now that I am drinking and eating it alone. I miss sharing the experience with others, discussing the merits of a wine or criticizing it, debating about which wine to serve with specific dishes, then talking about whether or not the wine works with the food or not. Beyond the technical discussion, there is also the conviviality of coming together over food and wine. I have always been fascinated how those two things bring people together. Throughout history and across cultures food and beverage (not always wine) bridge gaps, build trust and create warmth. Enemies have been able to put aside differences over food, strangers are taken in to people's homes to break bread, and families and friends build lasting bonds over meals. If you have ever traveled in a foreign country and had the opportunity to eat in someone's home, you will understand what I mean. Wine is also used to mark special occasions - the christening of a new ship, the celebration of a new marriage, the romance of an anniversary, or the launching of a new business. In other words, happy thoughts and feelings are associated with wine - even if it is the little glass you are sipping while you are cooking your dinner!

This brings to mind a cute story I once heard from a wine maker. He said that he had been at various business dinners over the years dining with people he really didn't want to be with, but they were always drinking very prestigious wines. He never had fond memories of the wine, because of the people he was sharing it with. One day he was in a hot tub with a woman he really wanted to be with and they were sipping their $10 wine, he realized it tasted like the best wine he had ever had!

The moral of the story is: let's celebrate life's simple pleasures like coming together with others over food and wine (no matter how simple they might be)!

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