By Simone Bergese
Are you aware that U.S. wine sales surpassed 40 billion dollars in 2016? Did you know that over 2 billion dollars in sales came from wine shipped throughout the country? In addition, 400 million cases were produced in America last year, and they all came from grapes grown in vineyards that cover an area of over 1 million acres!
Not only that, but the United States is the sixth-most planted country in the world (after France, Italy, Spain, China and Turkey). We have been growing grapes and making wines for over 300 years! Yes, the first legitimate winery was established in Kentucky in 1799. Despite prohibition-era, when only priests and friends could enjoy wine, today there is at least one vineyard planted in all 50 states. The numbers from the largest producer of wine in the world, Italy, are even more staggering.
So why has wine has been part of the human life since the Neolithic era? And why has it played such an important religious role in different cultures such as the Egyptians, Romans and Christians? Did you know? King Tutankhamun even had a guy called “Kha’y”, the royal chief vintner…and I thought I was important!
From a consumer’s point of view, I think I could withstand it, but I would be really depressed if for some reason wine disappeared from my life. I am sure I would have to find something else to replace it with at lunch or dinner. Perhaps some may call that a habit, but I like to refer to it more as a symbiotic relation—a holistic approach to life and a tradition that dates so far back that it would be a crime not to be perpetuated! Obviously the fact that wine contains ethanol and that, even in a small amount, it can produce euphoria and relaxation are two reasons that explain pretty clearly why wine is such a beverage of choice!
But it is inevitably more intricate than that.
Behind each glass of wine, you always find more: ancient wineries, stunning views, incredible success stories and of course, complex chemical terms and descriptions. Wine is also usually shared and can be an icebreaker, a topic of conversation, the reason for a successful date, a business card at a business dinner or a status symbol. It is often what we turn to as an antidote to a bad day or to toast a sparkling celebration.
At the same time, wine can be good and bad; it can be understood or completely misinterpreted. It can be too cold or too warm. It can be perfect or a disaster, and it can be complex or very simple. Why? Because wine is nothing without the taste buds that give it a meaning.
It’s just wine, but it is able to bring back memories in a unique, mystical way—sometime it touches a level of greatness in us that can only be expressed through goosebumps and smiles.
It’s just wine, but people like me will always call it friend.