Wine Consumer


Wine: Not Beer

Wine Consumer Magazine, Sean Piper

Wine is not beer. Let’s just get that out there straight away. Believe it, or not, consumer confusion exists between the two and finding a context for both can prove to be a real challenge at times. 

On the consumer level, it seems that some people may require a reason to drink wine – an occasion or a food to pair it with. While this is perfectly acceptable, it really isn’t a reason to choose wine over beer nor is it the reason we are willing to pay more for wine. Beer can match any occasion or fare as easily as wine. However, there’s something else that wine brings to the experience – something entirely different from beer. So, what do you think it is?

Time: Slowly

I evoke the words of Emily Dickinson in her poem “Come slowly – Eden!” where Dickinson requests that the paradise of the experience (Eden) “come slowly” – so she can savor every nuance of the delight and prolong the impending bliss. In the first part of her poem, she says:

Come slowly – Eden!

Lips unused to Thee –

Bashful – sip thy Jessamines –

As the fainting Bee –

In the spirit of Dickinson’s poem, appreciating wine is like the Eden living within space and time – slowly. It is in the stretching of time’s sensuality and the warping of our sensory space where wine accomplishes this in a distinctly different way than beer. We drink wine to absorb, ever so timidly, thoughtfully, and slowly, the perfume of the "flower’s" heart.

Space: Penetration

Sure, one may gulp, but this is not the design of wine. As we slowly take our time with the journey, we detour to the scenic route – through the forest, along the coast, and into the adventurous realms, where the sunlight plays with the shadows and reflects brightly off of our pupils in optimism and wonder. It’s a soul’s deepness, in pause and perpetuity, where the wine glass contains a penetrating wisdom in full and, doing so with not a drop to waste. We embark on the venture of drinking wine to become lost in its vaporous atmosphere. Dickinson continues her poem:

Reaching late his flower,

Round her chamber hums –

Counts his nectars –

Enters – and is lost in Balms.

The distinction between wine and beer is not something that can be minimized to a competition where one wins and the other loses. They offer different experiences and deliver those experiences in a way that is unique in their own relativity. We celebrate their differences and appreciate their place in our personal space and time. When we take our time and linger in the fragrant haze, we are drinking wine. When we choose wine, we choose it because everything it is – well, IS all that it is not.