With Oktoberfest belching to life this Saturday, wine remarks may be drowned out in the clink of mugs (Maßkrugs if you are a Teutonic purist) and blasts of Oompah bands.
We soldier on.
Strategy one: Drink wine made in the Texas Hill Country, the heart of German-settled Texas, residue of the Solms-Braunfels and John O. Meusebach episodes in Texas history. The Texas Wine Trail is thick with charming wineries, many making perfectly good wines. The wine can be hard to get—best strategy is to go to the winery and join the fun—and they can be a little pricier than warranted, but do your part to build the Texas wine industry.
Interesting fact—the winery may be in the Hill Country, but it is likely the Texas grapes were grown on the High Plains around Lubbock.
Strategy two: Drink wine made in Germany. The go-to wine is riesling in all its permutations. You can swig vapid, super-sweet Liebfraumilch if that pleasures you. If it does, it is good wine for you. Consider, however, dry or off-dry riesling and discover how riesling can be deliciously fresh and a tremendous food wine. You also can go—best for dessert—with eiswein (ice wine) which typically has high alcohol and plenty of sweetness. If you want really sweet and quality, look for trockenbeerenauslese.
Strategy three: Passive aggressive. Drink an Alsace wine—gewurztraminer and riesling are the stars. Alsace passed between Germany and France during 20th century wars. Drink an Austrian wine—gruner veltliner and muller thurgau are go-to pours. Same German language, different countries.
Strategy four: Surrender. Drink a liter of beer (German law strictly requires Oktoberfest Maßkrugs be filled exactly to a liter). Reinforce why you prefer wine.
• Becker Vineyards Iconoclast Fascination Red Wine 2013: Easy drinker, Texas-made, fruit-forward, softness from zin and malbec, nice price. $9-10
• McPherson La Herencia 2014: Texas-made blend; easy drinker, tame tannin, reserved acidity. $16-18
• Pedernales Cellars Texas Tempranillo 2014: Seriously good, Texas grapes, Texas maker. $17-20
Last round: Feel sorry for people who don’t drink wine. When they wake in the morning, that is as good as they are going to feel all day.