Going Beyond the Bottle
One of the things I enjoy most about wine is how each bottle can connect me to people and places, near and far, past and present. Wine makes me think about where, when, how, and even why it was made. As I have experienced wine through the years, my desire to better understand each wine's context, to go beyond the bottle, has become insatiable.
Why? Most importantly, wine encourages me to stop and think about things I would otherwise not take time to ponder. When opening a new bottle, I often turn to my trusty wine encyclopedia, look up the region it is from, and then read about the people, places, culture, and history behind what I am about to drink. It prompts me to slow down, step back, and take time to acknowledge the larger world around me.
Even better, there is always something new to learn talking to folks at a winery or tasting event, in a restaurant, at a local wine retailer, or even online at various wine blogs. In doing so, I seek to connect to a wine in a way that is deeper than someone merely recounting scores or telling me how it tastes. That insatiable desire is why I started this blog, to create a forum where folks can gather online to help shape a broader context for wine that goes beyond the bottle.
No one has articulated this notion better than Alder Yarrow of Vinography.com.
Alder's article, Messages In a Bottle: Appreciating Wine in Context is one of the most insightful and inspiring wine commentaries I have read. In his article, Alder encourages wine enthusiasts (especially critics) to go beyond the bottle and explore a broader context: the history, humanity, culture, emotion, and memory that comprises a glass of wine. In doing so, a fuller and richer enjoyment of wine awaits those who seek this understanding on an ongoing basis.
Give it a try. Travel to wine country, study the history and culture of the place, and then seek out the winemaker, or anyone who really knows a wine's background. Visit your local wine merchant and talk to them about the places they have been, the people they have met, and the larger reasons why they like certain wines. Gather your friends and family around your table, open wines from different regions, and see how many stories surface about the places visited, cultures experienced, and people met.
The more you explore, the more you will learn, and the more you will enjoy wine as well as the world around us. That's appreciating wine in context.