And What Now?
By Olga Antoniadou
After spending almost seven weeks within the safety of my home due to Covid-19, with a few compulsory outings to the supermarket, the pharmacy and walks (excercise), I find myself in two minds about our release to freedom. I want to go back to normality like crazy, but I am also quite nervous about what will happen. It is quite obvious by now that Covid-19 is here to stay, and will be muddling up our lives for quite a few months to come. We, the 'great' humans, vulnerable to a minute, invisible enemy.
I've been through so many emotions during these past weeks. Scared stiff, hopeful, worried, angry, helpless, despairing, but I've also laughed a lot. Laughed at all these silly, funny messages and videos that were going around. Humour always helps us pull through the worst of things. I discovered the magic of Zooming and Skyping with friends for virtual dinners and toasting wine on our computer screens. Well, hardly magic, especially for me. A peoples person. To me, magic is a real face to face communication. But, I guess all these Apps were small comfort, even to me. I also discovered what it's like feeling trapped when another person was coming my way, when out walking. Ridiculous, come to think of it. People eyeing each other from a distance to figure out how to avoid coming anywhere close to each other.
It was such a relief to have enough wine stocked in the wine cabinets. Probably not enough for a few months of curfew, but enough for now. Or rather, to be truthful, not enough wines that I don't mind enjoying without feeling guilty I'm wrecking my hard finds all at once. But, as Magda, one of my wine friends said: “Are you kidding me! Of course, I'm drinking the best of what I have. I'm not leaving these to whoever finds them if something happens to me”. I honestly hadn't thought of that one. Kicking the bucket and not having myself enjoyed the best of what I've stocked. And it's not as if I've got wines that cost a fortune, but to me, they mean a lot. Many I have brought from visits to producers in different places, and who knows if I will be able to travel much anymore.
On the other hand, I stand in awe at the fact that it takes only about seven weeks of a standstill to generate blue skies, clear waters and utter financial catastrophe. Many of the people I have met through my wine studies are dependent on hotels, bars and restaurants either directly or indirectly. Many are dependent on tourism generally and wine tourism more specifically. Many run classes or hold tastings. I wonder how many of these people are going to have jobs when we go back to 'normality'. And what happens to wine trade fairs and wine shows? And spitting and spittoons? Handshakes? Just like in the 'Goodbye Lenin' film. You go into a coma and awake into a new world.
We will have to reinvent gatherings and come togethers. We will have to reinvent probably quite a lot. But, in the end, I trust human nature. We are survivors. We always find a way to do things. We can't succumb to virtual tastings, virtual gatherings, virtual dinners, virtual toastings, virtual love and virtual lives.