A Toast to Love: Why Do We Love Wine?

What is it about the fermented grape that fires our imaginations, arouses our passions? From The Weekend Australian Magazine November 8, 2019.

20 February 2020 | by Andrea Frost

One needn’t gaze far beyond the glass to find expressions, declarations and gestures towards wine that would usually be reserved for the love of another human being. Once-rational adults abandoning dependable careers for life in a ​vineyard; empty bottles displayed on mantels alongside family photos; aficionados savouring a sip of wine, longing for it to replay the memory of a beloved wine moment, like the delicious first kiss that long ago hinted at a lifetime with another.

Is such a thing possible? To feel love towards wine? I confess I’ve certainly thought so. Some time ago, I drew the conclusion that “wine was the most beautiful way to learn about and be in the world”. It came from a profound moment in my life that led to a desire to order the world, make sense of it and learn to live well among it. I wanted to learn of nature, beauty, taste, love, judgment, awe and wonder among other ​bafflements of being human, and for reasons as mysterious as they were complex I became convinced that wine was a source of all such pleasures. I fell breathtakingly in love with it. Properly, profoundly in love. Through a magical fusion of concepts, experience and tastings, I came to see wine not as a mere drink but as a ​- portal to a lifetime of love and wonder.

The idea that we are able to love something that is not a person but an abstract idea is not as peculiar as it seems. Plato most famously proposed the idea in the Symposium, his dialogue and tribute to Eros. In it, Socrates suggests to fellow members of the drinking party that the object of love ascends from beautiful bodies to ever more abstract objects of desire and love. Why not an abstract idea about wine?

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