Wine is a commercial product. Even wines of terroir or wines that qualify as works of art must be sold. And so the wine community is caught up in scores, competitions, marketing fashions, certification exams for sommeliers, and the grind of production, sales, and distribution.
When the commercial side of wine is dominant, it’s easy to lose sight of wine’s deeper significance as a source of soulfulness or spirituality.
In what sense is wine soulful? It has the capacity to move us, to transform us, to astonish and amaze. But most of all wine breeds connection.
Some wines have a deep connection to place. They reveal what a mix of soils, climate, and a culture dedicated to the creation of beauty can do, and they connect the drinker to that place.
Wine is an invitation to community. It has the mysterious ability to draw people together in friendship who share an interest in the beauty of wine.
Wine has the capacity to draw us into a world. People make wine the study of a lifetime and travel the globe seeking new and enriching experiences.
The heady aromas and flavors of wine can stop us in our tracks, arresting the frantic pace and heedlessness of modern life, making available moments of peace and reflection.
Wine taps into our emotions especially of pathos, joy, wonder, and the sublime. It makes the tensions between stability and change, degradation and maintenance, and predictability and contingency a sensuous event.
And wine is a window into the creative vision and sensibility of a winemaker.
I take a deep dive into the soul of wine in Beauty and the Yeast: A Philosophy of Wine, Life, and Love. Available at Amazon and other book sellers worldwide