Wine, like music, transports us to other times, other places, through a mystical warmth filled with memories and nostalgia. This is one reason oenophiles often purchase and lovingly care for vino which must age before they are enjoyed.
(See the article “Laying Down Young Wines: Why You Need A Wine Cellar.)
They anticipate the day the cork will be removed, knowing it will be a day of celebration filled with memories of good times and hard times. A celebration of life.
Soon we’ll be celebrating St. Valentine’s Day. A day traditionally reserved for love and lovers of all ages. Cards will be exchanged, as well as kisses and chocolates, and libations will be poured into appropriate glasses to be enjoyed together. A sort of tying-of-the-souls ritual will take place.
Wine has, for many centuries, been the liquid of love, the toast of thanksgiving, the reticule of relics from days gone by and days hoped for.
Anyone familiar with the Christian Bible will recall stories from each of these uses: The Marriage at Cana; Noah planting a vineyard, and; The Last Supper. Wine was, in that time, the image of commitment. A pact or treaty could not be made without it! Today, in religious circles at least, wine remains the symbol of both life and commitment.
Wine, above all other things, exposes the great cleverness of the Creator. This cleverness can be read in the humble grape. Yeast on the outside (that white dusty matter) and sugar within, every single grape possesses the ability to become wine.
Crush a grape and instantly it begins its God-given path toward wine “to gladden the hearts” of the people. To prevent this blessed event men have devised ways, such as pasteurization, to abort the natural process. The result is grape juice and a great fortune for the Welch family.
However, in ancient times, as well as today, men have sought ways to preserve the fermented nectar. (See the article “Clay To Cans: Wine Storage Has Come A Long Way, Baby”)
But when left alone to follow the narrow path they were given, grapes become wine. The ability to stop this process did not come about until after America was discovered. From these facts, one can ascertain that when the Bible mentions “wine” it means wine (not juice). But I digress.
In this divinely blessed process, we see the vast care of the Creator for His creation. Wine as medicine can be seen in the parable of the Good Samaritan, where the Samaritan poured wine and oil into the wounds of the man who had been beaten. And wine helps mend wounds of the heart to this day.
It seems to me, with nearly every mention of wine in the Christian scriptures we see a connection to love and to commitment. And so it goes even today whether we know these things consciously or not. There is a part of us, a mystical part, which knows and which follows the knowledge of the ancients.
Each time I open a bottle, especially one of the reds, I am reminded of these things and a great many more. I am thankful for the substance of great joy! I allow its aroma to transport me to sweet memories, its appearance to remind me of sacrifice, and its tastes to awaken my soul.
This year, as you approach the holiday of Love, I hope you do so with a deeper understanding and commitment. As you place bottles of your favorite vintage into your cooler, mindfully note you’re making the effort for a reason.
Perhaps, out of Love, you want it to be served at the perfect temperature so its flavors will fully blossom for the recipient. Perhaps, out of respect, you intuitively know its ability to be mystical.
As a glass is poured for you, reflect upon the graciousness of the pourer in conjunction with the wisdom of the Creator. The lowly grape, crushed in order to bring joy to life and life to joy, is the perfect symbol for all which is good.