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Why I Love Wine
By Barrie Cleveland
 
“Why do you love wine?”
I’m often asked why I love wine from other wine tasters and wine enthusiasts. In writing winery reviews for the California Winery Advisor I’ve tasted wine at almost 600 wineries! I ought to have an idea.
 
To begin to share why I love wine, I ponder over some lines from the movie, Sideways (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375063/).
 
In Sideways, I especially enjoyed a quote where Maya is describing why she loves wine to Miles the first time:
 
Maya: No, I- I like to think about the life of wine.

Miles Raymond: Yeah.

Maya: How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.

Miles Raymond: Hmm.

Maya: And it tastes so f---ing good.
 
I love wine for all the reasons that Maya explained and then some. It is an individual assessment, of course, but it can be the beverage that binds people together. Sharing a glass of a well made and properly-aged wine can build bridges in friendships and help with discoveries of the soul, or just give you the nerve to open up your heart to those around you. It is a beverage to share, a beverage to savor, and a beverage to enjoy. And like many good things, it carries a responsibility to enjoy in moderation.
 
A perfect blend
 
I love people. I love wine. And people and wine go better together! Mix in a good meal at a common table and the feeling strengthens and expands. Sprinkle in good conversation and witty repartee and you are on to something special. The finishing touch is the wine that helps people become friends, a meal becomes more flavorful, the conversation more animated and the evening more memorable.
 
A wonderful blend…more on why I like wine:
 
I love wine because it enhances conversations among great people. When joined together, good people with good wine create more insightful and enjoyable conversation. People and wine often combine experiences in love-making, shared during a romantic dinner, or popped as a compliment to cheese, bread, and a perfect picnic. These experiences only add to why we love wine.
 
I love wine because it enhances the flavor of food during our meals. A great wine, when matched creatively with a creative dish, tends to create a more memorable and lasting dining experience.
 
I love wine because it improves the ability to live in the moment; that a bottle of wine, when enjoyed in a beautiful location, is even more enjoyable. If only we could enjoy each bottle again and again. Lovers and wine have, after all, oft been compared.
 
I love wine because I find in my travels that people who drink wine socially are happier and healthier people.
 
In my job of touring and writing about wine and wineries I visit some 200 wineries each year. I taste at plenty but usually just observe and chat with the tasting room staff learning about the particular amenities, specialties and unique characteristics of the winery and the tasting room. I jot down my impressions and check off my lists but I am also engaged by others enjoying their tasting experience.
 
In no other environment that I can think of does this occur with such ease. Couples sharing their thoughts on wine, vineyards, winemakers and new found wines can quickly divert to food or art or – dare we risk it – politics, religion, or other taboo topics.
 
A single person can confidently inquire about a wine to their tasting bar neighbor and not look or feel out of place or uncomfortable. The tasting room is a unique place and with the plethora of new and updated tasting rooms, the experience only grows deeper.
 
Not only can you share a glass of wine and a tour of the winery with your new wine tasting friends, you can now share a walk through the sustainable vineyard, tour the first class art or sculpture gallery, enjoy the perfectly pared flavors of food tastes and wine, or learn the minute details of how the winemaker pumps over the must to extract the most flavor in his or her wine. It is truly a joy to be engaged and the wine is the enabler. And this is why I love wine.
 
Do you love wine, too? Or, are you at least curious to learn more about wine?
 
If so, why not visit the pages of the California Winery Advisor (www.CaliforniaWineryAdvisor.com) and discover unique tasting experiences that await you…
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