Of the galaxy of reasons to love wine, it’s the quarrel I enjoy the most. Wine’s capacity to engage with every major idea contained in the cosmos – from science to religion, philosophy to history, to the age-old question of how to live – has proved an irresistible rabbit hole for someone with a curious mind and a sense of adventure.
It wasn’t always this way. I spent many years actively shying from disagreement, for one reason or another. But over the years I have come to realise that, not only is the quarrel a necessary part of wine’s evolution, it’s also part of the pleasure. A good thing this, because for something so apparently civilised, we wine people quarrel a lot.
The point of the quarrel is not to fight but to evolve ideas. French essayist Joseph Joubert wrote: “The aim of the argument, or of discussion, should not be victory but progress.” Not all of my quarrels are verbal, nor are they always held in company. Some of my most intense quarrels have been silent, between a book and me, quite often with an idea from someone long since departed.
As I became comfortable with the quarrel as a way to explore the complexities of wine, I wondered about the quarrels we’re currently having and the ones we need to have …
This excerpt is taken from my ‘Curiosities’ column in The World of Fine Wine issue 51.