Is It Even Wine Anymore?
Thoughts on Wine during lockdown – by Hatse Nomaqhiza
Wine is a goddess that performs her beautiful tricks to a crowd. To the one who wishes to be with her on his/her own, all she does is give warm hugs and sing lullabies. Bring more people to the setting, and she’ll make them more beautiful, smarter, calmer, kinder. Of course, as with everything else, too much of a good thing, becomes a bad thing. The more of her you have, the more you want. This is where things may turn sour, bitter, prickly, poisonous…bad. This is why one must enjoy wine for wine itself, not for what it can do. Once you stop recognising how absolutely beautiful she is, and start seeking the pleasure she gives, you’ve lost the plot. Sleep.
Wine is a social drink…but with social distancing implemented everywhere, is it even wine anymore?
As far back as history can document, wine has been a drink that is enjoyed in group settings. Whether it be a ceremonial get together, or a party, or even just dinner, wine had it’s place there. The world has been hit by a pandemic that has closed all residential doors all over the world. No more get togethers, or parties, or braais…nothing. We’re all reminiscing about the good ol’ days when you could go to the store and spend time reading the labels on the wine bottles, deciding whether you want to try something new, or go back to the one you know and trust. Gone are the days of feeling unnecessarily superior when you effortlessly pull the cork out with your waiter’s friend, and you hear that slight popping sound as a sign of your competence. 2018 bottles are suddenly as important as 1965 bottles used to be only a few months ago. You take your screw-cap bottle of merlot, hold it with both hands, caress it, brush your fingers over the label, and remember how it was on sale for R30 at the local liquor store 5 weeks ago…2 for R50. It’s now too precious to drink, even though you had bought it to cook oxtail and broad beans stew with it because it’s not the type of wine that one would drink unless one was trying to get over a recent break up, or the end of Game of Thrones. You don’t celebrate the end of Game of Thrones, you mourn. One mourns with bland food and “what the f*%#@ is this?” types of wine…okay? Okay.
Who knows? Maybe this caterpillar wine, will become a gorgeous swallowtail butterfly after the lockdowns.
But the extensions…2 more days, 2 more weeks, 10 more years. This is not normal. Nobody ever thought that this would happen. So what should one do? This goddess is not performing her tricks anymore…the crowds are illegal now. She’s not even for hugs and lullabies anymore. She is a GPS system set to locate your sanity. These are hard times for everyone.
Instagram models are out of work because they can’t take pics at restaurants anymore, and their acrylic nails need fills but salons are closed. They are at home eating cornflakes with full-cream milk and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Singers are neither in studio nor performing on stages anymore. They are singing in the shower like the rest of us.
And wine? People are drinking wine out of coffee mugs. Nobody is swirling the wine in the pear/tulip-shaped glass to watch her dance and show off her secret shades of purple and blue. Nobody is looking for her legs. Nobody is smelling her to find out what she has decided to create her bouquet out of. Anybody who is smelling her is doing it for the purpose of getting that alcoholic note that confirms that what is in this cup is not Coke. The goddess is now a nurse. From beauty and tricks, to bringing back sanities and giving reassuring pats on the shoulder, while calmly saying “It will all be over soon. Go wash your hands skat.”