From climate change to why civilians hate sherry to the feminist implications of alcohol… August has been a month of thought-provoking reading here at Vinediction. Dig in.
‘Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink’ by Kristi Coulter
There is a huge difference between drinking to savor and drinking to survive. Coulter unpicks the distinction with sharp prose:
“That’s the summer I realize that everyone around me is tanked. But it also dawns on me that the women are super double tanked — that to be a modern, urbane woman means to be a serious drinker. This isn’t a new idea — just ask the Sex and the City girls (or the flappers). A woman with a single malt scotch is bold and discerning and might fire you from her life if you fuck with her. A woman with a PBR is a Cool Girl who will not be shamed for belching. A woman drinking MommyJuice wine is saying she’s more than the unpaid labor she gave birth to. The things women drink are signifiers for free time and self-care and conversation — you know, luxuries we can’t afford. How did you not see this before? I ask myself. You were too hammered, I answer back. That summer I see, though. I see that booze is the oil in our motors, the thing that keeps us purring when we should be making other kinds of noise….
“Is it really that hard, being a First World woman? Is it really so tough to have the career and the spouse and the pets and the herb garden and the core strengthening and the oh-I-just-woke-up-like-this makeup and the face injections and the Uber driver who might possibly be a rapist? Is it so hard to work ten hours for your rightful 77% of a salary, walk home past a drunk who invites you to suck his cock, and turn on the TV to hear the men who run this country talk about protecting you from abortion regret by forcing you to grow children inside your body?
I mean, what’s the big deal? Why would anyone want to soften the edges of this glorious reality?”
Buy Coulter’s book Nothing Good Can Come From This
Wine Simple by Aldo Sohm
It seems like there is almost as much advice about wine-drinking available these days as there is wine to drink. Sommelier Aldo Sohm digs into his store of wisdom with a helping hand from food writer and bon vivant Christine Muhlke. They say: “The essential guide begins with the fundamentals of wine in easy-to-absorb hits of information and pragmatic, everyday tips—key varietals and winemaking regions, how to taste, when to save and when to splurge, and how to set up a wine tasting at home. Sohm then teaches you how to take your wine knowledge to the next level and evolve your palate, including techniques on building a “flavor library,” a cheat sheet to good (and great) vintages (and why you shouldn’t put everything on the line for them), tips on troubleshooting tricky wines (corked? mousy?), and for the daring, even how to saber a bottle of Champagne.”
I say, probably nothing you haven’t heard before, but handy to have it compressed into a coffee-table friendly book.
(If you’re more into the food side, Muhlke’s website Xtine is worth a browse).
‘Wildfires are a Wake-up Call to Climate Change’ by Stephan Cronk
“The past few days have been heartbreaking to watch, as the devastation has unfolded over Provence with fires sweeping across 7000 hectares of land and protected forest,” Cronk writes. “These forests are a crucial source of life, full of rich biodiversity, co-existing alongside human habitations in our busy and heavily populated area of the South of France. We have also been waiting in agony and praying for our Domaine Mirabeau and the vineyards of our colleagues and partners in the area, as so much of our hard work is put at risk by the raging fires.
“…Since having acquired Domaine Mirabeau in 2019, we have already experienced two “once in a generation frosts” and pitifully low rainfall levels that have almost become the norm. Now we add the worst forest fires this region has seen in living memory. This is a stark reminder that climate change will irreparably damage our food systems and livelihoods and that putting off thinking about the macro picture is just no longer an option.”
‘Five Wines Loved by Sommeliers’, WineAndSommelier.com
This blog won me over with its pithy deconstruction of the ‘drink what you like’ trope. “No one in the wine industry really means it,” they write. “If you doubt that’s true, give a bottle of Blue Nun or white zinfandel to any of these folks and watch the catch the vapors.”
Their list of wines that “sommeliers love and most people hate” includes misunderstood gems like sherry and Gamay, and varieties seeking redemption from stereotypes such as Riesling and Zinfandel.
Read the article at wineandsommelier.com
‘Impact of Retail Marijuana Legalization on Alcohol Sales in Colorado, Washington state and Oregon’ by David Ozgo
After reading articles predicting that Millennials would substitute cannabis for wine, I wondered: do they?
Not so much, according to a 2019 study by the Distilled Spirits Council, written up by Ozgo, its senior vice president of economic and strategic analysis. The DSC reviewed tax data from Colorado, Washington and Oregon, states where recreational marijuana is legal, and found that “Per capita wine sales were mixed. (Per capita wine sales were up 3.2 percent in Colorado; down -3.1 percent in Washington state, and up 0.7 percent in Oregon.)”
Overall, alcohol sales were up, boosted by a cross-state lift in spirits consumption. I hope they do a follow up because I’d love to know how substance consumption changed during Covid. My guess is fat tax coffers in those three states.
Read the full report