Updated: Nov 12, 2021
I was raised in a culture where wine was not really appreciated. In Ireland drinkers were into beer and spirits; temperance was, however, as popular. Yet I have come to enjoy wine and exploring its unique qualities is an adventure that enriches my life. There is so much more to wine than simply using it for pleasure; though the pairing of food and wine is a truly joyful experience.
I spent last winter in Catalonia and the weekend before we returned, as Spain moved into lockdown, we travelled to the Priorat district west of Tarragona. The highlight was to wander with a vineyard owner across his land to learn about his family traditions and what grows best where. We also had a tour of a famous co-operative bodega in Falset. These happy memories have helped to sustain me during the last nine months.
Wine is not simply an industry or a technology. As Matt Kramer has written “But at their best, wine grapes have a way of giving voice to the Earth… Wines express their source with exquisite definition. They allow us to eavesdrop on the murmurings of the Earth.”
Of course, as with life itself, there are risks and alcohol abuse must be taken seriously. The Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament are full of warnings but also that wine is natural and good. Indeed, the many biblical metaphors using wine can merit examination for their deep spiritual insights.