Celebrating with “The Social Lubricant Club”
My wife and I attended a really beautiful wine event yesterday. We and a number of other "wine club" members spent the day treking through vineyards up in the Atlas Peak appellation where Astrale e Terra Winery have their vineyards. We were led by the owner and winemaker and learned a great deal about hillside grapegrowing and winemaking in a mountain appellation.
Letter we dined under a tent in the Shadow of these hillside vineyards and overlooking hundreds of acres of pristine vineyards A nice breeze wafted through the tent where we enjoyed a fabulous luncheon at a long table where fabulous wine flowed.
But as lovely as this all was, it was not the stunning setting, the great wine and perfectly matched foods that made this a perfect example of what draws people to wine and finally captures them in a lifelong pursuit of its appreciation. In fact, it was our compatriots under that tent that really define the wine experience.
I sat across from Monique. Monique is full blooded Italian, born in Paris, raised in Cannes and a citizen of the United States for the past 40 years. She was a fun, boisterous woman for whom enjoyment of life and people had become something of an art. She still spoke a with a french accent and communicated with her eyes and smile. From her seat at the middle of the table she was able to share her joy with nearly half the people at this long table. She ate drank, toasted, talked, laughed, joked, shared and drew people into her world. She clearly felt she was among friends as she looked at the 30 or so others who shared this meal with her.
But the thing about Monique was this: She was really not very different from anyone else at the table.
This is what makes wine an avocation that is not so much about vintage, ratings, education and palates. This is what makes the avocation of wine about sharing and living life well.
I suspect that when those devoted to bowling, horticulture, music, archeology and stamp collecting get together there is a similar camaraderie that emerges, and a sense of sharing and instant closeness that reveals itself as the gathering gets going. But with wine, the drink nearly always becomes secondary at our gatherings. Those devoted to wine seem not to be celebrating wine when they gather together. The seem to be celebrating the effect of this social lubricant and the familiar ties it creates and generates.