View of Norman Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA

Norman Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA

From young root clippings in dry, arduous conditions to fruit bursting with the essence of the surrounding countryside, grapes are cultivated over a long period of time to bring you an explosion of sensory impact.

Wine has been called the nectar of the Gods, yet we’ve all had wine that had to be thrown out, so what is so special about this unique liquid that makes people travel the world in search of it, pay tens of thousands of dollars for it, give it as gifts, horde it and pair it with everything edible under the sun?

I don’t have the answer to those questions, but I have something for your consideration. Wine can be elusive and dynamic, something that appeals on many levels both conscious and unconscious. There is something we all want from wine when we open a bottle: we want to marry ourselves and our food with wine. And that is a problem…one we continually try to solve by opening the next bottle.

You see, the spouse of wine is time and we are but slaves and mistresses to that precious liquid.

 From the moment that the grandmother vine shares part of her root with the soil, that mere slip or cutting marries Time. The growth of that young plant is measured by time until the correct day arrives on summer’s calendar when its sweet fruit is harvested. From that moment onwards, the clock is ticking. Labels, commemorating the moment the wine was pronounced perfect for bottling, are printed and glued to bottles.  This generates a new set of phase whose measurements for the moments before wine’s imminent parting of ways with Time, when the cork is popped and we let it breathe its last breaths before we attempt to possess wine’s last moments.

And for a brief period of time, we are One with wine and then it is over. Years of creation going into a single moment.

Take moment to consider how we have rituals around wine’s final moments. We make toasts, clink glasses for the sound, and examine the color, sugary legs and aromas. We hold wine upon our tongues for the kiss that it will give us and gently inhale so that our brains will be ignited with imagery of grass, hay, blackberries, gravel, mushrooms, lavender, tobacco and bacon and more. Literally, there are hundreds of references to wine that we can taste and smell in the wine. Visuals spring to mind unbidden to match scents, and we tend to act surprised when we smell one thing yet taste another.

Wine is poetry for the soul and wine will take you for a soulful ride if you let it.

Wine is also chemistry for the soul and can take you for a different kind of ride altogether when it mimics and destroys neurotransmitters in your brain that suggest you are feeling really, really good. I plan to write about this matter in another post, because what I have learned on this subject should be known by all who drink alcohol.

When you next raise your glass of wine, remember to toast “Time” the spouse you are leaving behind.

Live well and be happy,

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