When I entered the wine biz many years ago, I remember someone saying to me, "The great thing about the wine business is that people drink when they're happy and they drink when they're not." Which is a fancy way of saying, people ALWAYS have a excuse to drink. Now I'm not advocating excessive drinking or that you should use any alcohol as a means to cope or otherwise imbibe, but as I was having a particularly rough day just recently, I found myself going into one of my favorite watering holes and as I sat down I asked the barkeep to pour me a wine, and make it a double!
You can guess what they said, or maybe didn't say, but just looked at me with a strange expression on their face. I won't bore you with the details, but the barkeep wasn't as lucky. They had to endure my tirade about the day I was having and what had caused me to be in such a bad mood. That's when I started thinking (I know, that's not such a great thing for me to do either) how we turn to our favorite alcoholic beverage, obviously mine is wine, to both drown our sorrows and to celebrate days and times in our life when we are so happy.
What makes wine, or any alcohol, so universal? It's a little like pairing what wine goes with what dish. You have a particularly wonderful day and you think of your favorite celebratory beverage. Mine, as most of you know if you read my blog, is Champagne. Maybe it's the fact that Champagne just has the reputation for being the drink of choice for holidays and special times in our life. I think in my case, it's just how much I enjoy the flavor and the bubbles. Short of having someone to join me in that celebration, I can honestly say that just drinking that wonderful elixir can enhance my mood.
Okay, that makes me think about a very old Bill Cosby 33 1/3 vinyl recording I use to have. (You'll need to block out the current issues with said performer, but the saying is a hoot). He was talking to his friend about the use of various hallucinogenics, probably pot or cocaine back then, and he asked his friend why people use it to begin with. His friend replied, "it intensifies your personality." To which Bill says "yeah, but what if you're an asshole?"
Enough reminiscing. So I've covered the positive side of drinking, or at least one possible reason, so what about the reverse? On those dark days, like I had, why do we also want to seek out the comfort of that potion that we think will make us turn into happy people? Or is it that we really do wish to, as they say, "drown our sorrows." We all know that never works because as soon as we recover from whatever state we put ourselves into, usually those issue still remain.
So why drink? The good news, in my opinion, is that we usually do it because we enjoy that glass of wine or we wish to enhance our meal with the perfect pairing. Maybe it's because we have gotten together with friends and wish to share stories while sipping on that perfect glass of vino. I'm sure so many other reasons come to mind that don't depend on either a celebration or, like my case, events that made me crazy and want to reach out for that glass of wine and ask for a double. Either way, I think there might also be a calming effect regardless of why you sought out that drink in the first place. Happy, it allows us to stop and think about what a great day or event took place; Sad or Upset, it calms us down and settles our nerves and thoughts. Whichever is happening, I think that wine is "The Great Equalizer."