Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Poll Results: Drinks With Dinner

My latest poll has now ended. The poll question was: Which Drink Do You Most Often Have With Dinner? The possible answers included: Wine, Beer, Spirits, and Non-Alcoholic Drinks.

The #1 answer, with 19 of the 25 total votes, was Wine. Beer and Non-Alcoholic Drinks tied at second with 3 votes each. The results were not that surprising but it was the comments that were more interesting.

It seems that a number of wine-lovers may not have adopted a wine-culture mentality whereby wine accompanies nearly every meal. When they drink wine, it may be usually with a meal. But that accompaniement is not every day, and may be half or less of the time. Thus, in that regard, we still have a way to go in becoming more of a wine culture. Wine is still not an integral, every-day component of our lives.

So, why is this the case? Why don't we drink wine with nearly every meal? Are we still viewing wine as something special, and not just a normal component of our meals? Are we worried about the effects of drinking wine every day? Are we working toward that goal but just have not gotten there yet? Does U.S. culture still frown too much on daily wine drinking?

For me, I have found myself drinking wine with more and more of my dinners, yet it is still not every day. Though it is improving. It is a significant change and such can take time. I know most of my local wine buddies still rarely drink wine with dinner. I think it is a cultural barrier that takes time to erode, to feel more normal. It takes effort and perseverance.

I think the advantages of having a better wine culture in the U.S. should be fairly obvious. I doubt many wine lovers would disagree that the U.S. could benefit from becoming more European in their outlook on wine. Yet it is also obvious that we have far to go.

So how can we promote more of a wine culture in the U.S., especially when many of us do not drink wine every day with our meals? Or can we promote a wine culture without drinking wine each day? Wine consumption in the U.S. continues to rise each year yet we are still a long way from becoming a wine culture. Is it even possible though for the U.S. to become a wine culture?

Obviously the more wine bloggers promote wine, the more that is written about wine, helps promote a better wine culture. It helps to normalize wine, to make it more accessible to all. Yet I think getting people to taste wine may be one of the most important aspects.

2 comments:

gopaz said...

Hey Richard,

Fabulous post and a wonderful way for us to question where our perceptions of wine come from and what they mean.

"Why don't we drink wine with nearly every meal?"

From my perspective, it's two-fold. One, our puritan ancestors instilled a pretty strict idea of what is good and what is bad when settling into their eastern colonies. As we've chatted about before: sex, drugs and rock and roll are all out of the question in this framework. So too is honest dialogue and healthy debate. Hence, I think the primary cause is our culture of fear, always wanting to be good and in control, rather than enjoying life in moderation.

Second, I would suspect that our lack of vines stretching out across the American landscape over thousands of years, may also play a hefty part in shaping our attitudes.

"Are we still viewing wine as something special, and not just a normal component of our meals? Are we worried about the effects of drinking wine every day?"

Yes, I think wine is still viewed as something 'special' but i also think this is changing as more people travel abroad and more younger people have contact with other cultures. Will this seep into the business world, allowing people to enjoy a drink during a business lunch, i doubt it, although I think it would be a wonderful addition. Again moderation.

"Are we working toward that goal but just have not gotten there yet? Does U.S. culture still frown too much on daily wine drinking?"

From what I've read, i don't see a goal being concretely made; however, I do see a gradual change in our attitudes.

I suppose my question in return would be, if we want this attitude to change, where wine is seen in the same light as Europeans see it- simply, part of the meal - how do we foster this when alcohol is still seen as negative, not positive? Through education? And if it's through education, how do we promote it?

Richard A. said...

Thanks Gabriella for some excellent comments and thoughts. And I do basically agree with you on your answers to my questions.

As to your own questions, I do think education is the key though it probably needs to take on many different forms, to address different segments of society. From changes in the government, such as the interstate shipping laws, from changes to children. We have options to help in all these areas.

Our blogs obviously help educate, though they reach only a limited audience. Some of the other wine groups online that get our support also help. A multi-prong approach is necessary.