How Wine Changes Us

joy of wineWine 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.


  1. An extraordinary, near-poetic comment on a mysterious and intensely pleasurable human activity–drinking quality wine and enjoying its elusive beauty. Describing a “transcendent” experience and how we derive such a rich, profound, intoxicating pleasure from “vitis vinifera” requires flirting with the ineffable and saying the unsayable.
    For those of us who are genuine wine lovers and hypnotized by the magic ah-ah moments and the power of this divine juice, life without wine would be a mistake. We are all greatly indebted to Dionysus for allowing us to avoid such a tragic mistake. Indeed, wine is extraordinary and something to be treasured.The power it has to transport us to Mt. Olympus and experience the forces of ecstasy and excellence, however ephemeral, will forever remain an elusive secret.

    Bravo for embracing the secret!

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