Does Wine Still Matter?

Vinted on November 28, 2018 binned in commentary

Does wine still excite you?

I mean, does it really matter to you these days?

I don’t mean matter in that classy way to get trashed way, though given the state of world affairs and divisive US politics these days, I’d be one of the last people to begrudge you that kind of temporary salve.

What I mean is, do you still get the same thrill out of wine that you did when first discovering a great unsung producer, or a killer bargain, or a fortunate run-in with one of the unicorns?

I ask this not because I’ve personally lost that fire (as proof, I submit every article written on these virtual pages over there last two years), but because it’s tough to ascertain if normal people care anymore.

There are a shit ton of terrible things happening in the world as I write this. And while we’re unquestionably richer, safer, and just plain better off as a whole compared with, say, forty years ago (just take a look at any statistical measure in developments such as infant mortality rate as captured by the United Nations), the trend towards normalizing rampant nationalism globally has got to have any rational person more than a little concerned these days. If you engage in behavior that we wouldn’t tolerate from six year old kids – denigrating people, wasting money, isolating your friends, and  abdicating personal responsibilities – the best you can do on America is… become President? And don’t get me started on the “post-fact era” of media consumption (a term that utterly loathe, as if facts were ever candidates for exclusion as a matter of normal adult behavior).

We’re kind of through the looking glass at this point, aren’t we?

In this environment, it’s a bit tough to justify writing about fermented grape juice.

The kicker is that I’ve got reams of material to share – I’ve yet to write up travels to Israel, Idaho, the Rhone, Romagna, a new Sonoma cult wine release with historical ties to previous coverage here on 1WD, and very likely Asti (since I’m in route there as I pen this very opinion piece). And I’m excited about all of them… That is, until I make the mistake of catching the news.

I’m not going to stop, of course. But I’m reflective by nature, and I can’t help but take some pause and think, “does this stuff really matter?” – knowing full well that it never stopped mattering to those in the wine biz, that the product has a history much longer than our current political woes, that there are vines (and some wines) that will outlive everyone reading these words, that just maybe because of all of that, wine actually matters more now than ever before.

So… are you still as excited about vino as I am? Because I think that I could really use a drink right now…






  • Tom Wark

    Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe.

    Wine never “mattered” in any real world sense. That is to say, wine was never going to change our world. But of course that doesn’t mean wine and our focus upon wine is without meaning.

    We don’t ignore our friends and family because we despair over international relations. We don’t revert to bread and water, ignoring our palate, because our country’s tax structure is ass backwards. We don’t refuse to return to that great series, Battlestar Galactica, because our lawmakers can’t pass even the least intrusive gun control policies to combat mass shootings. And we certainly don’t stop drinking wine or writing about wine because the state of Mississippi elects a buffoon to the U.S. Senate.

    Wine, under nearly every circumstance, inserts pleasure into a life burdened by despair, incompetence, poor choices and mean spiritedness.

    Choose pleasure.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Tom, well stated as always. Historically, one could argue that wine was at one point something that mattered, in terms of being a substitute for unsafe water, etc. Anyway, I appreciate your sentiment and the nod to BG :).

  • darmyers

    I still get excited about finding a new wine, and wine in general. It brings me a tremendous amount of joy, and I find it particularly joyful after reading or watching news. We live in a world that can bring us down, and in these times small joys are very helpful. Wine is a joy and I appreciate the fact I can afford to enjoy it.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, and I agree that small joys are important in our lives; they’re like the details in a work of art.

  • Tom Natan

    It’s a credit to you that you ask the question — haven’t seen that kind of reflection from food or fashion writers. But writing about wine doesn’t mean you don’t care about other things.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Tom!

  • Carl Helrich

    Dude, if you didn’t have thoughts like this, I’d worry about you more. I agree with Tom: wine never really mattered in the big sense to most of us. But it is a close eighth behind family, friends, religion, philosophy, food on the table, roof over our heads and personal health….and maybe other things I should mention.

    The older we get, the more cynical we become. And wine distracts/grounds/relaxes most of us….and is a guilty pleasure to boot. For us weirdos who are obsessed with the grape, I have to say I do feel guilty that I’m not doing my part for the greater good of the world.

    That said, I know many people who would be sadder for it if they didn’t have our wine, so in a sense, maybe us fretting about wine is helping some small part of the population.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Carl. I am actually getting *less* cynical as I get older, but I think that’s just one of the many positive outcomes of me having gotten divorced :-).

  • Bob Henry

    “. . . we’re unquestionably richer, safer, and just plain better off as a whole compared with, say, forty years ago . . .”

    As attested to by this new book:

    By Gregg Easterbrook
    (PublicAffairs, 330 pages, $28)

    New York Times book review:

    Wall Street Journal book review:

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Bob. Similarly, check out the book Factfulness.

      • Bob Henry

        Just did:

        From the Wall Street Journal “Opinion” Section
        (August 3, 2018):

        “Some Good News — About Natural Disasters, of All Things”

        • Bob Henry

          I knew I had seen another, more recent article that alluded to “Factfulness.”

          Excerpts from The Wall Street Journal “Review” Section
          (November 17-18, 2018, Page C19):

          “The Pessimism Reflex”

          “Before his untimely death last year, [Swedish statistician and public health expert Hans] Rosling (with his son and daughter-in-law as co-authors) published a magnificent book arguing against such reflexive pessimism. Its title says it all: ‘Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.’ As the author of a book called ‘The Rational Optimist,’ I’m happy to include myself in their platoon, which also includes writers such as Steven Pinker, Bjorn Lomborg, Michael Shermer and Gregg Easterbrook. [Gregg Easterbrook’s book cited above. ~~ Bob]

          “For us New Optimists, however, it’s an uphill battle. No matter how persuasive our evidence, we routinely encounter disbelief and even hostility, as if accentuating the positive was callous. People cling to pessimism about the state of the world. . . .”

  • Bob Henry

    In Preston Sturges’s masterful movie satire titled “Sullivan’s Travels,” the protagonist movie director John L. Sullivan “longs to make a socially relevant drama [reflecting dire economic times], but eventually learns that creating laughter is his greatest contribution to society.”

    Well-made wine gives the gift of pleasure.

    Well-written wine blogs and wine articles and wine books promote the gift of pleasure.

    Don’t second guess yourself about your contribution to society.

    [ And for those not familiar with the movie, I volunteer this link: ]

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