Wine is about transformation–the grapes in the vineyard, the wine in the barrel and bottle, the drink in the glass as its volatile chemicals release an aromatic kaleidoscope of fleeting, irresolute incense. Wine changes profoundly over time.
In turn, the drinker is transformed by the wine. But not merely by the alcoholic loosening of inhibitions or the false identity appropriated through wine’s association with status. Instead, the wine lover, at least on occasion, is transformed by the openness to experience she undergoes when gripped by sensations whose beauty compels her full attention. For unlike any other drink, wine can arrest our habitual heedlessness and distracted preoccupation. It rivets our attention on something awe-inspiring yet utterly inconsequential, without aim or purpose, lacking in survival value, monetary reward, or salutary advance in our assets.
The complexity, intensity, and stark singularity of those wines we love move us because they indicate that our relationship to an object that possesses them has great developmental potential. They extend to us the promise that further involvement will take us on a journey where we forge new paths and make new connections. There is mystery about a wine and how it unfolds over time that sparks the imagination and draws us to it. This felt potential for further engagement is a natural lure that makes wine something “loveable” and demands we care about it.
This is the essence of the “ah ha” moment when we recognize wine is extraordinary. We all have such moments. They should be treasured.