The United States is a beverage-crazed nation. A while back, I wrote an essay about Americans' infatuation with coffee. I'm not a big fan of coffee because it's too darn hot. I'm not a big fan of wine because it gives me a headache. And I'm not a big fan of beer because it tastes like dirty toilet water.
Yes, there is something about the properties in wine that makes me dizzy and nauseous- the same side effects I get, coincidentally, from watching five minutes of The View. Unlike with other alcoholic drinks, I find it difficult to get through a single glass of wine. One wine loving friend suggested that I have a negative physical reaction to the sulphites found in wine. Another friend suggested I'm just a pussy. Eh, let's say it's the sulphites.
I do enjoy the taste of wine, though. Wine tastes like adult Kool-Aid, which is slightly more appealing than actual Kool-Aid, but less satisfying than Kool-Aid for adults... which is actual Kool-Aid mixed with the flavored vodka that rappers drink.
Wine lovers, however, love wine- which is redundant, I know. But, I mean, they really really love wine. Their lives revolve around wine: meals, vacations, etc. There's a point where enjoyment turns into emotionally unhealthy obsession. Perhaps a more accurate description for these people is wine stalkers.
I'm told that certain wines go better with specific types of food. For example, you're supposed to have red wine with meat and white wine with fish. And it's best to drink a mouth-numbing acid before eating Irish food.
It's all nonsense, of course. Your filet mignon tastes the same whether accompanied with a vintage French Bordeaux or that orange-colored Mountain Dew. But connoisseurs are sticklers for the detailed art of wine. It's like statistics-obsessed baseball fans or when nerds watch Ant-Man. Self-appointed experts find comfort in their believe that even though we're all drinking the same beverage or watching the same movie, they more fully "experience" what us novices don't really understand. And we're all self-appointed experts in something. (For me, it's "face tattoos.")
We think of wine as a classier, more upscale alcoholic beverage. It's an inaccurate choice of words, then, to refer to homeless alcoholics as winos. How come nobody ever describes the sad-but-loveable drunk hopping the train car as a malt liquoro?
Objectively, though, there is nothing about wine that makes it more prestigious. Biologically, your taste buds don't know wine to be of a higher culture. If you spent your life in a dungeon, and you drank wine and then beer for the first time, you wouldn't think one beverage tasted "classier" than the other.
Rather, those with social power control the reality of culture. People who drink wine tend to be wealthier and more educated. Wine tends to be more expensive. Hence, you class up any meal with a little Chardonnay. If the nation's most exclusive country clubs replaced wine with squirrel milk at seventy-five bucks a bottle, then rodent-milk mixer parties would the latest trend in nouveau chic.
I'm not sure if a wine's price matches its quality, necessarily. Is a one-hundred-dollar bottle of wine really ten times better than a ten-dollar bottle of wine? An elite bottle of wine might run you two or three hundred dollars. Heck, how much better can a wine taste?! For that kind of price, I expect the wine to throw in a foot massage.
It takes a lot of nerve to charge hundreds of dollars for a bottle of wine. Grapes don't cost hundreds of dollars... I mean, unless you shop at Whole Foods.
Luckily, if you're on a budget, many quality wines are available at affordable prices. Or, if you're willing to slum it, you can buy boxed wine. Hey, if you can eat chicken from a bucket, you can drink wine from a box. And for people who are really struggling financially, I think the Dollar Store is selling wine in a used Tostitos bag.
The big debate among wine lovers involves red versus white. Some people prefer red wine, whiles others choose white wine. When it comes to taste, I can't really tell the difference. No- that's not true. I can tell the difference, but I have no preference. It's like when I took the Pepsi Challenge years ago. I could taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke, but when the guy asked, "Now which do you like better?" I responded, "I don't know."
I did a little research. Apparently, red wine is more robust because it contains something called tannins. But during the fermentation process, the tannins are blah blah blah antioxidants blah blah... aw, f*ck it; just give me a gin and tonic.
Other than actually drinking the wine, the two things that wine lovers enjoy doing most are letting their wine breathe and attending wine-tasting events. Wine-tasting trips and parties and festivals continue to rise in popularity. These events give fans a chance to sample different wines and to get drunk in a more refined way.
I've accompanied friends to wine-tasting events a couple of times. The affairs are usually a pretty good time, as attendees tend to be laid back and social. As a general rule, people are friendlier when alcohol is involved. When I watch violent riots in the Middle East on television, I think, "If only these people had more to drink."
My only complaint about wine-tasting events is that they always go on for too long. We get it; you like wine. But all day? And I like Pop-Tarts, but after four hours of trying different flavors, I think I'd get a little sick of them. A perfect wine mixer would be, say, no more than two or three hou... wait, they make a cookie dough flavored Pop Tart?! How come nobody told me about this?!
Traditionally, we think of women drinking wine and men drinking beer. In fact, the majority of wine lovers are indeed women. According to a recent study, about 55% of regular wine-drinkers are women. But the gap is closing. Men like wine. Actually, I suspect men would overtake women in wine consumption tomorrow if not for wine's girly European names. It's hard to imagine Dirty Harry sitting on a stool after a day of beating up thugs and telling the bartender, "Give me a Sauvignon Blanc, sweetly tropical." .
Some people drink wine to relax after a hard day of work. Some people drink wine in the evening to help them get to sleep. Some people drink wine to help break the ice at social gatherings. Wine has so many uses. It's like the WD-40 of intoxicants.
I am a sucker for wine labels. I'm attracted to any wine bottle wrapped in colorful packaging. My snobby wine loving friend Jenn told me that if a wine bottle has a cute animal or a cartoon character on the label, it's a sign of bad wine. Jenn drinks boring wine, the kind that only has words on its label.
One time, I went to a wine-tasting event with Jenn. I complained a lot. She asked, in a very snarky way, "Would you like cheese with your whine?" I replied, "Yes! I love cheese."