Wine—An Alternative History
I have long been a fan of the “Alternative History” genre of literature. Generally it is considered a sub-genre of science fiction, but it really can encompass far more than that. At its most elementary, “Alternative History” literature asks and answers the question, “What if…?”
The most common forms of this genre ask readers to consider “what if the South won the Civil War” or “What if the Third Reich prevailed in World War II”?
A new filmed version of Philip K. Dick’s classic “Man in the High Castle” is coming to the world of streaming video via Amazon Prime and this prompted me to go back and take another look at this classic. It revolves around a scenario based on the latter question posed above.
As I reviewed the plot of Dick’s work, it occurred to me that I have never seen any example of Alternative History applied to wine. That is, though I’ve read numerous novel length and short stories that fall into the alternative history literary genre, never has one dealt with wine. And it got me thinking: What would be some of the most interesting “What If” questions to apply to wine?
In a way this is a parlor game, but it’s a parlor game for those who can really wreak havoc with their imagination while at the same time exercising excellent reasoning skills.
Among the “What If” wine questions I’d like you to consider are the following:
1-What if Star Trek-like transporter technology existed whereby people and material objects could be instantaneously transported from any spot on earth to another?
2-What if the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting pitting American vs. French wines resulted in the American wines being judged inferior in every way to their French counterparts, rather than being judged their equal or better as was the case in reality?
3-What if there were an outbreak of poisoned wines that showed up on the shelves of every major U.S. city affecting wines from all over the globe and severely harming hundreds of people?
4. What if it were determined without a shadow of a doubt that by drinking 2 glasses of Pinot Noir (and only Pinot Noir) per day would provide near complete protection from inflicted by any form of cancer?
5. What if it was scientifically determined that Jesus not only did not turn water into wine but instead turned it into cider (the “hard” variety)?
The first question is particularly interesting to me. I can only imagine what it would do to the retail trade of wine. The impact transporter technology would have on wine tasting would also be profound. And consider what would happen to the wholesaler?
Would love your feedback not only on these What If questions but also hear your own What If wine questions.
I think number three will almost certainly happen should large amounts of Chinese wine ever find its way into the global market.
Bill, what makes you think that Chinese wine will end up being poisoned. Assuming it happened, however, what do you think would be the impact? Overall wine consumption decreases or just Chinese wines? If the poisoning happened in the states….that would be a different story.