If you read a newspaper column about wine, you likely do not have to be convinced wine is a good thing.
In case you are ambivalent, here is Pope Francis’s take on wine: “Water is needed to live, but wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and joy of the celebration. Wine is necessary for the celebration.”
As an active Catholic, the imprimatur of my pontiff only embellishes my commitment to enjoying and learning more about wine. Whatever your faith tradition, however, you likely agree with the thrust of Pope Francis’s statement. Wine enhances just about any celebration. It is the lubricating elixir of weddings—site of Christ’s first miracle. Wine is the celebratory sip at births, the toast at life’s triumphs, the succor for those left behind at the end.
Wine is art that touches the better angels of our nature. It is the loving marriage of soil, climate, millennia of human toil and experimentation, the work of human hands and human minds perfecting the gift God gave us when grape vines began to snake up trees and yielded delicious fruit long, long ago, in time out of memory.
Wine is intellectually challenging. No one could ever fully understand the subject of wine in the toil of a thousand years. There are more than 2,000 different grapes in Italy alone. Every palate is different. Every vintage is a new adventure. Anyone who claims to know everything about wine instantly confirms they do not.
Whether you like cheap, sweet wine from a box or only deign to pull cork on vintage, cellared treasures you are privileged to enjoy, you share in a wonderful human experience. Just ask Pope Francis.
• Galil Mountain Winery Upper Galilee Rosé 2014: Fun-in-the-sun sipper; pairs with fish, fruits, salad; tasty Israeli rosé, terrific price. $12
• Kim Crawford South Island New Zealand Pinot Noir 2014: Smooth, easy drinker, subtle oak. $17
• Yarden Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008: Delicious, sophisticated sparkling. Proof Israeli wines compete with world on quality and price. $32-33
Last round: Give strong drink to anyone who is perishing, and wine to the embittered; When they drink, they will forget their misery, and think no more of their troubles.—Proverbs 31:6-7