Wine and Emotion

A Winemaker’s Thoughts


Chris Carpenter has been the longtime winemaker of Cardinale, La Jota, Lokoya, and Mt. Brave—four top estates—all in the Napa Valley. Last year I asked him about wine’s connection to emotion. What is it about wine that moves us?  It’s a question that’s rarely posed to winemakers. Yet the answer is central to why any of us loves wine. Here’s what Chris said, and I wanted to share it as we kick off the new year…

Guest Blog by Christopher Carpenter

“Wine is connected to our emotions–both in the present, and in how those emotions experienced in the present carry on in memory.  Memories of shared experiences, and moments of flavor epiphany and celebration tied to a special bottle form some of our most powerful emotional anchors.

Memory brings us joy, sadness, excitement, melancholy, love–the list goes on and on. And for those who enjoy wine, that bottle becomes the spark that allows those memories to resurface. Much as the way in which a song will instantly carry you back to a moment in your life, or certain cooking aromas will carry you back to your grandmother’s kitchen, wine transports us.

For me there is no greater joy than when a wine drinker shares with me an event in their life that one of my wines will forever be tied to.  This is the irony of the art form.  Wine is not visual art that can be seen again and again; it’s not music that can be recorded or preformed again and again; it’s not even cooking at the French Laundry-level that can be repeated night after night.  It is enjoyed in the now; it fires emotions and hopefully sears them into the soul; and it is there that they are re-experienced.”

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