The Arrogance of Wine Populism

wine with friendsThere are many reasons to drink wine. Some drink wine for the conviviality wine encourages when with friends. Others drink wine because it enhances a meal. Some people drink it to relax after work. Some people are wine geeks who enjoy tracking wine’s variations and learning as much as they can about it. These are all good reasons to drink wine.

I happen to fall in the latter category but I think it’s great that people find other reasons to drink wine. People are busy, wine is expensive, and there is no reason why everyone ought to have the same interests anyway.

The fact that wine is many things to many people is what makes it a cultural force.

What I don’t get are people who want to insist that the reason they drink wine is the only legitimate reason one could have. In a column purportedly giving advice about how wine fits into a balanced life, we get this pearl of wisdom:

Don’t become a wine snob (or a wine geek for that matter); wine is an agricultural product, not a rare gem. It is meant to be consumed with food and preferably with like-minded friends in an atmosphere of geniality. It enhances our dining and social experiences. It shouldn’t be the focal point of those encounters.

Who appointed this guy arbiter of wine’s one true purpose? Wine shouldn’t wine be the focus of an occasion if that’s what people want to do?

Millions of people throughout the world go to wine tastings, get together to drink and talk about wine, and seek wine education. Are they all just snobs and status seekers?

No doubt wine is an agricultural product but anyone who thinks there are no rare gems is just ignorant or bullshitting. Since this guy conducts wine tastings I think we know which one applies.

Wine wasn’t “meant to be” anything other than what people decide do with wine. And a whole lot of people have decided there is more to be done with wine than wash down pizza.

Who is being the snob here?

One comment

  1. Wine is simply an expression of human culture. As such, you can approach it from many different directions. And you are correct, there is no point to being an arbiter for others’ tastes. But being a snob always ugly. Sorry. Be a geek. Love wine. Share your enthusiasm about wine. Encourage people to try this or that wine, and explain why you love it.
    But don’t use your ()supposed) knowledge of wine to make people feel intimidated or socially insecure. Snobs are ugly no matter what they are being snobby about.

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