My relationship with wine started when I was just a wee lass. As most European descending families my family is a very large, and very loud Irish one. Beer, spirits, wine, and booze of all kinds was present in every aspect of my life growing up.
At the dinner table for fancy occasions when the family sipped an array of differently coloured liquids in glasses with fancy stems, I drank water from a wine glass. This glass – unique in shape and size – somehow made me feel like I was part of the group, and that I was older and more mature. And for years I sipped that wine, laughing and pretending I was part of the elite group of people who were allowed to drink from the long necked bottles.
As I grew I took a shining to wine from day one. Sometimes my Irish grandmother would pour wine into my glass cup when no one was looking and give me a wink. Or my Aunt would fill my glass with a knowing smile not knowing herself my grandmother had just done so. I spent many family gatherings falling asleep early on account of my new taste for wine, and little did I know that was just the beginning in my long line of wine-loving nights.
My first bad experience was when I drank too much wine at a party when I was 22 years old - needless to say someone should not be drinking a 2L bottle of pinot grigio to themselves. From that moment on, I felt like wine and myself were in for a very long relationship filled with fill-ups, fall-downs, and lots in-between.
I eventually (questionably to some) grew into somewhat of a young lady; attending banquets, fancy dinner parties, and seasonal holiday gatherings where the ‘boissons de la journée’ would be my arch nemesis: wine. If a drink could wear a mask, tight leggings, and laugh evily, wine would have. Due to the circumstances I began to sample more wines as I was out and about, learning that if I had a glass or two it really was a rather enjoyable experience. Pretty soon I was trying new bottles, staying away from mixed drinks at parties, and even ordering a glass of wine with dinner instead of beer. And as somewhat of a self (and publically) proclaimed ‘geek’, this was a big deal for me not to be parked in front of a computer or video game with a beer and Clark Kent’s glasses. Instead wine made me feel less like nerdy Clark Kent, and more like iconic and suave Superman.
Now working downtown Toronto, seemingly the classy capital of Canada, wine is apparent in all major restaurants. From $10 bottles, house wines, to fancy wines that I can’t pronounce; wine is running rampant and people are eating- excuse me- drinking it up. It’s one of those things you can give as a gift, a thank you, housewarming, “I-heard-you-left-what’s-his-name”, promotions, job loss, new friends, new babies, new family, corporate or colloquial; wine is a jack of all trades. What else can you give to someone to celebrate a new home, and to cry with your girlfriends over a relationship wrought with pain? A puppy just won’t do.
So over the course of my young (and not as young) adulthood, meandering from jeans-and-tee video game geek to heels and gloss gal, trying to class it up is something that is becoming more natural to me. With wine at my side I am eager to see where my new love affair will take me.
Of course, there is always too much of a good thing in large doses, I’ve learned.