Are wine geeks different from spirit/cocktail geeks?
I pondered this question as I attended the first annual Boston Cocktail Summit, a three day event devoted to a diverse selection of spirits and cocktails issues and items. By geeks, I refer to intense and passionate devotees, those to whom these alcohols are central to their lives. There is a difference between wine and spirit/cocktail geeks which stood out to me, which was even initially noticeable from the cocktail summit program. It is a type of "historical divide."
As a generalization, and there are definitely exceptions, the average spirit/cocktail geek is much more interested in history than wine geeks. They seem to know and understand the history of their favorite spirits, the history of Prohibition, the history of cocktails and bars, and the alcoholic history of their region. They research old cocktail books, mining them for ideas and information. They throw parties which seek to emulate prior historical periods.
The program for the cocktail summit had 2 pages of historical spirit/cocktail trivia, much of it concerning the Boston area. There was a rum party one night that sought to emulate Cuba during the 1950s. At a number of the seminars, history played a role in the spirit/cocktail discussions. There were spirits in the tasting rooms that sought to replicate old recipes and cocktails at the bar events which sought to do the same. History played a vital role in the cocktail summit.
On the other hand, wine geeks are much less interested in historical events. They might understand some general basic facts but they usually never delve deeper. They seem much more interested in how wine is made than in its historical roots and origins. They are more concerned about grapes and barrels than what occurred in the past. They rarely throw wine parties that hearken to another era. It is much more about the now and the future, rather than the past.
I love history and have written numerous posts concerning the history of spirits and wines, from Rum to Sherry, from Champagne to Port. I find it all so fascinating, yet too many other wine lovers seem to be much less interested in such matters. Why is that so? Why are spirit/cocktail geeks so much more interested in history? These questions perk my interest but I currently don't have any answers as to the whys. Yet I believe that wine lovers need to acquire a greater appreciation and love for history.
To properly understand a subject, one should understand its origins. That history creates the present and by understanding it, we can better appreciate how it got to its present state. The winemaker Paolo di Marchi once said "If we understand the past, we get a healthy path to the future." He was referring to how one cannot understand the Chianti Classico region without understanding its history. That would be applicable to any and all wine regions. In this respect, spirit/cocktail geeks might better comprehend their subject matter by knowing more about its history.
If you are a wine geek and not interested much in history, why not? If you do love history, why does it excite you?