As I conclude the July 4th holiday and get ready to head out for a real R&R vacation in the beautiful state of Montana, I’ve realized that among my many friends, I’ve grouped them into two categories. There are those that are wine collectors, or “snobs,” and those that aren’t. Don’t get me wrong; when I say “snob,” I mean that in an endearing way. I, myself, am lumped into that category by all my friends. I live by the creedo, “life’s too short to drink bad wine,” and have even taken it a step further. If I’m gonna take in the calories on a beer, I’m going for the good stuff – Microbrews all the way! If I opted for a lite beer, I’d just assume drink water; far better for the body if I’m just putting flavorless liquid in it. If I opt for a burger, I’m not going to a place that wraps it in wax paper in a styrofoam box and offers drive-thru; I’m sitting down to a $15 gourmet Wagyu or premium ground sirloin with Maytag blue melting down the sides. You get the point.
So back to my friends. My guests for the July 4th barbecue were the non-snobs. Yes, they appreciate the good wine when it’s there, but most will settle for whatever’s white, whatever’s red. They love it when I break open a good bottle; but when my back is turned and I’m out the door, they’re back to sipping the stuff in a box. I occasionally turn a few of them towards the other side; they curse and thank me at the same time. With these friends, a great time is had by all, regardless of what we drink.
Now to my Montana trip. Going with close friends, and all are “snobs.” When we normally get together, we all bring some prize bottles to share, knowing this is the group of friends who we like to brag to each other about what we have; and that they can appreciate the nuances of some of these subtle, yet, intriguing wines. We’ll all bring 4-6 bottles each for a group of 6 of us; and we’ll return home with 4 or 5 of what we brought. We’ll leave knowing we’ve drunk to our fullest of some of the finest wines from each other’s cellars. In fact, a good portion of our conversation is dominated by what we consumed. We soak in the moments with food…and great friends.
What is the moral of this story? Life is about diversity; you can’t live on a bland, predictable diet. Having friends with differing interests keeps me healthy. My picnic friends make me realize there’s more to life than just great wine. They enjoy the knowledge that I can share with them, and make me feel good about what I know; and at the same time, laugh and talk about other worldly and not so important topics. My snobs? They rejuvenite the juices in me to further learn, as I realize I really don’t know everything about wine there is to know. We learn to appreciate the finer things in life; the details. Both sets of friends are truly loved and appreciated.
And yes, there are other friends that are “tweeners.” A whole other, but appreciated category!