Why do they hate wine so much?
I found myself in a strange position the other day: I disagreed with a comment Marina Hyde made on Twitter. That’s not a usual state of affairs for a UK-based Citizen of Nowhere you see. Marina is one of the best at wringing laughter out of the Screwball Weimar that is Brexit Britain. But there she is, taking a cheap shot at wine hobbyists. Which triggered my biggest wine-related conundrum. Why do people hate wine so much?
Now, you would never guess that from reading the wine press. You would never pick it up from following wine journalists or producers on Twitter. If anything, you would get the opposite. Many appear to think that there is a whole body of people out there that just love wine, but they’re terrified to say it out loud. I doubt there is another industry so convinced it’s intimidating everyone. Guys, it’s the opposite. Wine is not the super model with a heart of gold; it’s the girl running to tuba class. It’s not that they don’t know wine would much rather spend an evening watching Friends on the couch than going to the opera. It’s that they just can’t believe that anyone would be still interested in opera. Or Friends.
I can imagine why wine professionals are less sensitive to this intense dislike in the general public. For starters, they’re much more likely to hang around other people who take wine seriously. They meet many non-professionals in a wine-related context, such as tastings or salesrooms. Then there is the respect, or at least the basic courtesy, that one shows to a professional (that also came up, after Tim Atkin tried to defend wine’s honour). For the more successful wine professionals, there is also the benefit of the fascination people have with those making money in unconventional ways, especially if there is some involvement with the rich and famous.
But in reality, things are much less rosy. Those people that tell you, “oh, I would just love to know about wine, but…”? Most are being polite. Some might almost be telling a quasi-truth, in an abstract, effort-free sort of way. I mean, sure, I would like to be able to speak Japanese, learn about Hegel, and have a clean apartment, assuming I don’t actually have to take any classes, do any reading, or, you know, clean. It’s more like I don’t actively object to the idea of waking up tomorrow to a spotless kitchen, a renewed idealism, and some NHK playing in the background.
Oh, and that’s the good crowd. It’s a scary world out there dudes. I mean people just hate wine. That’s not to say they don’t drink it. That they do. Often more than me. But dare to raise the very idea of wine as something more than a way of getting high without the risk of triggering a fire alarm or the Daily Mail and, yowza. You’re bound to get some pretty sour comments, pretty quickly¹. I mean, people get nasty.
And that perplexes me you see. Because I like wine. I think it’s rather nice. So, I’m trying to collect all the reasons people give for hating wine, and I’ll issue a rebuttal for each one².
Here is where I am so far, in order of decreasing importance:
Am I missing something? Do let me know via Twitter!
You can follow Peter Pharos on Twitter at @peter_pharos
1. Most importantly, never, ever, and under no circumstances, tell beer drinkers wine is more complex: it’s their Gremlin Rule 3. You’re allowed to put them under bright lights though. Except on Sunday morning.
2. Exciting, I know.