Very soon we will drink to the home we have lived in for the past 16 years as we close the door and move into a new one. Just a simple symbolic event when we will toast, taste and sip wine.
Wine means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some it’s a hobby, for others it’s religious. For some it’s just a type of alcohol, for others it’s a lifestyle. Some may find it unappetising, while others swear they couldn’t live without it. But we can all agree on one thing – wine has been around for centuries, enjoyed all over the world by all groups of people, and it’s not going anywhere.
Thus I am a little perturbed to read about the intention to label every alcoholic bottle with health warnings like cigarette packets. While all alcohol is potentially dangerous and our keepers have a moral duty to keep us safe I believe wine to be the exception to the rule given its history.
At the wedding at Cana, Jesus is said to have turned water into wine. Wine, nectar of the gods, the bringer of joy, is as old as civilisation and has been traded around the world since trade began. Before oaken barrels it was shipped around the Roman Empire in large ceramic urns known as amphora. Pure and unadulterated, it has been a Mediterranean gift to the world for 50 centuries. It has brought solace to the grieving, it has brought gaiety, the Mother of love, a leading light to many a poet and a constant close friend of food.
However, those who want to save the world still maintain wine is booze and booze kills. Is there some parallel here with guns which, on their own, are harmless yet in the wrong hands or misused, are lethal? The feeling is lives must be saved. However, lives cannot be saved, they can only be extended and in the extension of life for life’s sake there is really no virtue. Modern medicine has already tacked 20 years onto the average lifespan.
Being just the two of us we have little need to conform to any fixed schedule. Lunch never happens before 2pm and so dinner is usually around seven. Our evenings run fairly similar. Even if I have more computer work to do, the wine is usually poured around 5.30pm accompanied by crackers and cheese.
Wine is always red. We are not racially prejudiced, we just prefer red – Aussie, French or even a South African Shiraz. Sorry but we just don’t feel Kiwis have mastered the art of a good Shiraz just yet. That searing sun the Aussies get seems to be the catalyst for a good brew. Depending on how I feel I may have a second or even a third glass but I can add that our ‘servings’ are nothing like the volume served by restaurants – but who’s counting anyway? They say the Kiwi average is seven glasses a week for the moderate drinker. I’m happy to acknowledge I’m above average. Cost wise, it can’t all be bought in the supermarket but its not out of most people’s price range being more about taste. Years ago we tried a $7 bottle of South African Shiraz. It was ghastly. Wife decided it would be best suited to a winter brew of mulled wine, warmed with added spices and cinnamon sticks – but it was still ghastly. Worked a treat for taking oil stains off the concrete driveway though.
Our ‘sundowner’ is something we have enjoyed daily for some years with few exceptions. Once upon a time regular tipling would be considered a vice but what were once vices are now habits, a poignant LP title by the Doobie Brothers.
After a farewell toast to our old home we will then drink a celebratory toast to our new home in the hope that family and good friends are able to enjoy it with us.
Friends will be always be welcome and there is nothing better in life than good friends – except good friends with wine.