A Constitutional Amendment Banning InVINticide

Today the Senate of the United States is considering an amendment to the constitution that would prohibit the desecration of the American Flag. It is an important debate that pits free speech advocates against those who would put priority on protecting the apex of American symbolism.

While this debate is important, I would urge congress to move past it quickly and get to what is a truly consequential and urgently needed debate: Whether Americans Should Have The Right to Practice InVINticide—the drinking of wines at too young an age.

There was a time in this country when respect was given to wine, whether originating in America or abroad. That respect was manifested in the acknowledgment that wine ought to be given time in the bottle before it was drained and consumed. That respect was practiced by consciously "laying down" wine for an appropriate time, allowing it to age, and consuming it only when its tertiary and more complex potential had emerged. It was a respect that all Americans acknowledged was essential to maintaining the critical role of wine in our culture.

Then, sometime in the 1970s, a wine drinking revolution emerged in which that respect for wine was diminished, if not completely destroyed, by a band of troublemakers who flaunted their disrespect for wine. They advocated that it be drunk YOUNG, yes YOUNG!. They said that it was an inherent right of theirs to enjoy this beverage in the manner they desired. They even went on to make the ridiculous argument that drinking wine young, not letting it age, and not letting it take on those important qualities that come with time in the cellar, was a right bestowed upon them by the Declaration of Independence’s promotion of the ideal of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

The urgent debate that must occur now in Congress is whether life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can still be the motto of this country while at the same time the consumption of wine in its youth is proscribed.

I say we must pass a constitutional amendment that very simply says: "The Congress of the United States shall have the power to protect all wine, foreign or domestic, from InVINticide: From being drunk too young."

By passing this Constitutional amendment America will restore the time honored, nay, the essential, recognition that only by aging wine can we honor this most important beverage and protect Americans from the kind of self delusion that we’ve seen lead to other unconscionable acts such as: serving cola without ice, preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with "chunky" peanut butter, and the most recent degradation of American culture, the inclusion of caramel inside the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.

There are those that would reiterate the argument that drinking wine young, using chunky instead of smooth peanut butter and serving cola warm is merely a reflection of our devotion to "freedom of choice" and liberty. I say these things are what lead to the slippery slope that degrades the tradition of "American Exceptionalism".

Write your Senator and urge them to move past the Flag Burning debate and move quickly on the debate over InVINticide Amendment.

5 Responses

  1. Rob Cole - June 27, 2006

    Sorry, Tom. I understand that this inVINticide amendment is your baby, but I’ve been lobbying my congresspeople far too long on the Give Rob Cole a Pre-Determined Successful Vineyard and Winery Amendment (GRCPDSVWA) to put that on the back burner.

  2. Ron Sober - June 28, 2006

    Ahhh….yes…but then you open the debate as to where the life of a wine begins. Is it at the start of fermentation? 51% through fermentation? The bottling line?
    Or…maybe as the wine fundamentalists would want us to believe it is at bud break in the vineyards.
    Heck…if that is the case, maybe we shouldn’t even eat grapes.

  3. tom - June 28, 2006

    Ron…YOu do me one better. For the sake of arguement…I’d argue wine begins with bottling.

  4. Rob Cole - June 28, 2006

    You know what, if you throw in cloning and things like stems, this conversation is really starting to sound like the other one.

  5. JohnLopresti - June 30, 2006

    I could mention a Paso Robles distinctive premium varietal red whose label advertises “forward fruit”, as it fits with your TooSoon draft legislation. Bottled with a real cork on the estate in this fairly new viticultural region, the expectation is the subtlety and luscious young depth achievable only vinifying grapes from own-rooted vines; however, this young wine of which I speak pours from the bottle noticeably spritzy. Next, one begins to wonder if the forward fruit is the fading malic acid as the wine continues the malolactic fermentation in the bottle. Even leaving the still mostly full bottle on the counter mostly recorked one extra day yielded little noticeable increase in lactic, absolutely no acetic sidelights, and probably the same amount of spritz. I think your legislation to be meaningful needs to stipulate the starting product needs to attain a physical state recognizable as quality winemaking before one assigns a fair amount of bin time. There is a lot to product design, and as you have noted elsewhere, enology prescribed by the accounting office.
    Although some zins and a few other varieties, mostly the centuries old ones, are commonly made for bottle aging, there are many debates about the commonly found bottles of other varieties less suited to standalone character, at least as made and/or blended American style. Additionally, one of the greatest temptations in winery management doubtless may continue to be using young marketing in cycles to offset the variations from year to year.
    Somewhat along these lines, I suggested to a certain northcoast CA growers organization that we look at the age old encumberance which served the French well, the crop designator in labeling. If that is vin du pays in the bottle twelve years, you’d best leave it on the shelf for another less acquainted buyer. But I doubt FDA or the like would be interested in MLF forward fruit wines made by a new winery as Too Young To Bottle (TYTB) unless there started being breakage or leakage in the warehouse; well, winemakers recognized this a few decades ago and routinely fill punt bottomed bottles with their reds instead of the old flat bottoms.
    Another youthful folly is the neoClass of wines made by conglomerates who purchased label rights from boutique wineries when they bought them out, but then proceed to decrease local sourced grape content in favor of diluting with blend fruit trucked in a few hundred miles.

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