Are you a wine lover or a wine drinker?
Are you a wine lover or a wine drinker? The immediate response is likely to be, “What’s the difference?”
Do you generally drink the same wine? Are you reluctant to try wines made from unfamiliar grape varieties, producers or regions? Do you default to commercially well-known brands with eye-catching packing and marketing/promotional campaigns? When attending a banquet or reception, do you acquiesce to the generic plonk generally served at such events because the expectation is that “for an event this size, it doesn’t matter. People will drink it anyway.”
Or are you curious to try wines from grape varieties, producers and regions that you’ve never tried before? Do you seek recommendations from experienced wine professionals who champion quality, value, transparency and sense of place? Are you concerned with where your wine is from and the story behind the people, place, culture and history of its home? Are you excited to share new wine finds with colleagues, family and friends?
If you answered affirmatively to the first group of questions, you are a wine drinker. Positive responses to the questions in the following paragraph are indicative of a wine lover. Let’s be clear, there’s nothing wrong with being a wine drinker. In fact, most wine lovers started out as wine drinkers. But drinking wine, just for the sake of drinking wine does not a lover make. Similarly, eating food only for the sake of sustenance, does not make someone a food lover.
But, there can an evolution where we become more concerned with the quality and lineage of what we consume and develop a curiosity beyond just the familiar. When we take pleasure from separating the glitter from the gold, embrace the undiscovered and under-valued and know that being called a “wine snob” simply means that you are not content to drink garbage, regardless of the price point (and there is garbage in all price points).
It’s great to be a wine drinker, but to ensure the sustainability of the wine industry and the existence of distinct, quality producers who represent the heart and soul of the wine industry, we should all strive and encourage others to be wine lovers. The world needs more wine lovers.