The Beautiful, Infinite World of Wine
By Olga Antoniadou
I recently read a lovely article by Nigel Greening of Felton Road on JancisRobinson.com, “Don't drink your own wine, " which set off a train of thoughts. Memories tingled in my mind. A friend of mine spent a couple of years working in a restaurant with an impressive list of wines, including several high-quality Greek producers and an exciting list of wines worldwide. During her stay there, we often commented that some of the Greek wine producers, who happened to eat there, would make a point of ordering their own wine. I have to say, I could not get my head around that idea, no matter how hard I tried. It puzzled me then, and it continues to puzzle me now.
Why on earth drink something you already know so well? Why not give yourself the opportunity to taste what other producers are making, even for the sake of comparison? I don't know of a single famous writer who hasn't spent hours reading other people's books. I don't know of a single composer who hasn't spent years studying other composers' music. Painters, photographers, dancers, actors, architects, musicians marvel at the work of others. And it's not just the arts. Doctors, psychoanalysts, philosophers, sociologists and scientists of any kind build their skills and broaden their horizons by meticulous research on the work of others. It's a way of exploring the infinite possibility of things, expanding one's knowledge and ultimately evolving.
If it weren't for our fellow human beings wrestling with their thoughts, ideas, fantasies, dreams, sentiments, religions, traditions and voicing their agreement or opposition, wouldn't our existence be utterly dreary? It's not about being better or worse, right or wrong, acknowledged or not. It's about being different. Many products are just as good as each other but have different expressions, philosophies, and aim at a different market. It makes me angry when our minds focus only on excellence. I have been trained to focus on individuality. Dissimilarity. Not on who is better, but on distinctive qualities.
And, thank goodness, in our times there are so many wines, from so many grape varieties, from so many places, made in so many ingenious ways, in so many packagings, with so many labels, to be drunk alone or with food, organic, biodynamic, sustainable, with more or less of a carbon footprint – something out there for any taste or budget. Why diminish our possibilities?
My only problem is that no matter how much wine I taste, how many tastings or wine fairs I run to, and how much wine I buy at home or am given, there are thousands I will never get to try. Now, that is something I fail to accept.