confessions of a winetard

01.12.12 – Saturday, Piacenza wine market

A brief history of my relationship with wine

1982, I’m 18, travelling around Italy with my boyfriend and no money. We’re somewhere in the mountains around Rome, and we decide that on our budget we can live on crusty bread, fresh tomatoes and fiaschi of local red wine in squat bottles in woven straw baskets, which all costs about 50p a meal and is nutritious, traditional peasant fare. This seems like a marvellous idea during our first meal, after which we pass out on our beach mats in a field under the shade of a tree. When I wake up I feel dreadful, headachy, nauseous, depressed. I won’t touch red wine again for the next 15 years.

What influences my wine buying behaviour:

  1. Is it white?

Mid-late 1990’s and I’m in my mid-late thirties, burning out from taking myself and my career far too seriously, and suffering from insomnia, which seems to be exacerbated when I drink white wine. Red wine is healthier and has all of those anti-oxidant thingies in it. I won’t touch white wine for the next 10 plus years.

What influences my wine buying behaviour:

  1. Is it red?
  2. Does it have a pretty label?
  3. Price range ITL.3,000 – ITL.5,000 (for a really good bottle)

End 2010, M. is selling insurance and one of his clients owns a local wine shop and bar. Within a few months of meeting him we are spending what we normally spend on a bottle of wine on a single glass. Buying a bottle of wine has become as complicated as choosing a new phone or computer.

What influences my wine buying behaviour:

  1. Does the vintner tell a good story? + €10–€15
  2. Is the vintner a woman? + €5–€10
  3. Will the vintner treat me like an alcoholic if I don’t spit it out? – €5–€10
  4. Will they be pleased if I don’t? + €5–€10
  5. Do they personally introduce us to their vines? Do they carry around a picture of their vines in their wallet? + €10–€15
  6. Will they want me to try the whole range of their wines? + €10–€15
  7. Do they talk like sommeliers and wear that ridiculous spittoon thing round their necks? – €10–€15
  8. Does he have irritating facial hair and suggest things like if you swirl the wine in one direction it tastes one way, whereas if you swirl it in the other you get something different? – €3
  9. Does the vintner act like a mad scientist? + €10–€15
  10. Does it have a pretty label? + €3

One Comment to “confessions of a winetard”

  1. As if some people think the decision on what to drink ends at red or white…hahaha. What an awesome read on some of the many different factors that go into choosing a wine. More often than not a person’s mood is the biggest contributing factor to what white they will pick.

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