Why Wine Matters


By Karen MacNeil
February 16, 2018

This Sunday is National Wine Day. In honor of that, I thought I’d amend my piece Why Wine Matters which forms the Introduction to the second edition of The Wine Bible. Here is a shortened version of that piece.

I have often wondered what is it about wine that I hold so deeply? What is this endless attachment?

I have always known what it is not. It’s not about scoring or competitive analysis, though like any wine pro, I’m game for the next blind tasting. And it’s not about the need to retell what I have learned, though I can lie awake for hours thinking about how to capture a wine in words.

Perhaps it is this: I love wine because it is one of the last true things. In a world digitized to distraction, a world where you can’t get out of your pajamas without your cell phone, wine remains utterly primary.  Unrushed. The silent music of nature. For eight thousand consecutive years, vines clutching the earth have thrust themselves upward toward the sun and given us juicy berries, and ultimately wine. In every sip taken in the present, we drink in the past–the moment in time when those berries were picked; a moment gone but recaptured–and so vivid that our bond with Nature is welded deep.

Wine matters because of this ineluctable connection. Wine and food cradle us in our own communal humanity. Anthropologically, they are the pleasures that carried life forward and sustained us through the sometimes dark days of our own evolution.

Drinking wine then—as small as that action can seem–is both grounding and transformative. It reminds us of other things that matter, too: love, friendship, generosity.

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