October 29, 2023 | Ryan Faddis
Why is it that when someone walks into a wine shop or looks over a wine list at a restaurant, many times, they feel inadequate or intimidated? There is nothing unique about wine that automatically makes it for elites with refined palates, but that is the image that has grown around wine in the United States as more and more wineries marketed luxury lifestyles as their key pillar and used high prices and exclusionary tactics. I believe that the wine industry is currently at a crossroads, and younger generations are seeing through this veneer. In the long run, this change in momentum is going to be great for the wine industry because as some of those marble walls come down, we are all going to realize that wine is not an elite product collectively; it is something that should be for everyone, and here’s why.
Wine is incredibly diverse, with options to suit every type of person. Whether you prefer red, white, rose, sparkling, sweet, or dry wines, there’s a wine out there for you. Once we all start embracing what we enjoy drinking and stop letting other people tell us what is in fashion, then the whole industry will be able to evolve.
Contrary to the misconception, you do not need to be an expert to enjoy wine fully. While wine enthusiasts can delve into the intricate details of wine production and tasting, you can simply live in the moment and think about how the wine in your glass makes you feel and whether or not you enjoy it. Also, going against the grain of many in the wine culture, wine can pair with whatever type of food that you like. Casual pizza night – there is a wine for that. Instant Ramen – Wine. Take out Indian food – you better believe there is a wine.
We also need to start emphasizing the points of wine that bring people together. Sharing a bottle of wine with friends is one of the oldest social activities known to man, and generations of people all around the world have created lasting memories because of wine. When looking back at those meals or nights with a bottle of wine, no one remembers the tasting notes or the technical information about the wine. They remember the people they had it with and how they felt while drinking it. This is especially true for me personally. One of the most transformational wines that I ever had is one that I cannot tell you anything about at this point, but I can still remember sitting with my wife late at night at the coziest trattoria in all of Florence. We sat and drank the house wine and talked about the adventure we were having, ate foods that were not supposed to be paired with that wine (it was white as my wife did not drink red at the time), and looking back years later; I still remember how I felt that night and how that night along with a few other key moments redirected my life to where I am sitting now working for a winery full time.
Yes, it is true that if you become more interested in wine, there are layers and layers that you can learn about. Geography, History, Culture, all of these things have influenced and been influenced by wine over the years, and if those things interest you, then you will always have something to research. Just because all of that is true does not mean you have to know any of it to enjoy the moment of drinking a great wine.
Wine is not an exclusive beverage reserved for a select few. It is a versatile, enjoyable, and accessible drink that people from all walks of life can appreciate. Whether it is your first glass of wine or you are studying to be a Master of Wine, there is always something new to discover and enjoy in the world of wine. So, don’t hesitate – raise a glass and start enjoying the wonderful world of wine.