Everyone loves wine. People are always talking about this wine and that. How one is fruity and one has a bit too much bark. They’re earthy, chilled, or aged. Wine is a global fad that has been really big for generations. But why?
First, why is it so important to drink alcohol at a proper meal? I mean, is it so important that we need to alter our state-of-mind while we engage in discourse over a nice meal? Is the company of the others at the meal so bad that we need to mollify it with some alcohol?? Of course not. So why the attraction to ALWAYS have alcohol with a nice meal. Can you imagine a similar fad forming around grape juice (wine without the alcohol)? Imagine buying a bottle of grape juice for $200 … you’d be laughed out of town. (even when you retort, “but this grape juice was made by Baron de Rothschild!”)
Pretty much every time I go out to eat for dinner, almost everyone at the table (except for maybe the pregnant lady and the occasional practicing Mormom) is downing at least one serving of wine with their meal. Occasionally you’ll find someone ordering a beer or a martini … but invariable, people are drinking (and talking about) the wine.
In fact, there is a whole elaborate ceremony to drinking wine. First, you order it. Of course, you pick a bottle from a long list. And you try to impress your dinner attendees by pretending you know something about wine by asking really pretentious questions about the year and if it is a “reserved” label or something.
Then you get the wine served and you stick your nose in the glass, swirl it around and say something nonsensical like “let it breath”. Just imagine saying that about a can of grape soda.
And then, not to be outdone, the entire table must talk about the wine and comment on its flavor, aroma, and origin (“those Argentines have a lot of trouble managing their currency, but they sure know how to make a fine wine”). And then, just when you think the dinner as about to settle in, some people at the table use the wine to give themselves a hidden compliment (“this bottle is the same one I shared with the King of Sweden at Davos”).
There are tons of studies on wine drinkers. They all think they are better wine experts then they really are. Poll 20 of your friends and most of them will be able to tell you why they prefer a $100 bottle to a $10 bottle. But if the labels were switched, they might give you a similar answer. Is it all just a fad??
My answer: yes. Wine is a giant fad. It is surely popular and has been going on since the beginning of civilization … but the height of its popularity is now. It seems that so many people have nothing better to do than to take classes on how to “appreciate” wine.
In fact, it is a scam. I’m not saying wine is totally useless and that no one likes it … but I am saying that the great majority of people that like wine, like it because so many other people around them like wine. In this case, the Emperor might have some cloths, but it ain’t more than a speedo and some sandals.