Food & Drinks

An Unorthodox Suggestion For Ending The Year In Wine

Wine lovers around the world took our hits in 2020, so much so that it’s tempting to join the bandwagon of wishing it good riddance as the year comes to a close.

The reality, however, is that the problems that have plagued us this year won’t disappear simply because we’ve turned a page in some chronological calendar. The challenges are far more systemic than that. I choose to approach them with a level-headed directness rather than a wish they’d simply go away.

Which brings me to an unorthodox suggestion for wine lovers to end this year. Every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, I’ll be drinking a wine that has lodged in my memory as emblematic of 2020. Each new wine each day will have its own reason, and its own relevance to the experience of my personal and professional journey.

The goal here is to pause in daily reflection about the year that’s coming to a close; the idea for wine lovers is to see and “register” those reflections through the lens of a glass of wine. I hope very much that you’ll follow the series over on Instagram and certainly add your own comments, observations and reflections.

An Important Caveat

Let me be clear that drinking a wine every day from now until December 31 does not mean that I’ll be drinking a bottle of wine every day or that I’m encouraging anyone else to do the same. Here are a few guidelines I plan to follow.

  • Non-alcoholic options are fair game and I’ll work them into the roster, partly to vary the routine and partly because the staying power of the sober curious movement has proven itself in 2020. The success of NA beverages themselves is a theme worth reflecting on, particularly for an industry with alcohol at its core.
  • On most, if not all days, I’ll be sharing the wine. That moderates consumption of course and, even more importantly perhaps, sharing wine typically means sharing conversation — in this case, about the wine itself, why we’re drinking it and how this reflective experiment about 2020 is progressing in general.
  • Wine preservation systems, and the technology behind them, are a boon to enthusiasts and mindful consumers. Coravin is my personal choice, and I’m looking forward to putting it to good use.

This is the first time I’m planning a wine-a-day experiment in November and December in order to “wind down” a year and take inventory of it, so to speak. (Needless to say, 2020 has been a year unlike any other and if there was ever a time for concerted reflection, it’s now.) There is precedent for this process: my very first foray into writing about wine was a blog some fifteen years ago called 365 Days of Wine, when I started learning about wine by committing to drinking a sip or a glass of it every day for a year and writing about the experience. More recently, in this column, I wrote about the cheeky “blue collar wine guide” that documented the process of selecting and tasting a daily wine over a month’s time.

The Turning Point

Those previous wine-a-day experiments yielded some interesting insights, thanks in no small part to the continuous awareness involved in conscientiously choosing a wine and taking the time to mindfully consume it. I’m looking forward to a similar thing happening this time around.

At a certain point, I expect that the reminiscences and looking back of this end-of-year experiment will turn the corner into looking ahead to 2021 and beyond. There will be wines that are emblematic of those themes as well. I don’t know yet the full range of what those wines or themes are, but I’m open to your feedback and suggestions. Drop me a message anytime.

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