When I added the wine category to this blog, I intended not to only post facts, trivia, etc., but to delve a little bit more into what wine means socially. This past weekend, I had two disparate experiences which really highlight how wine and social situations are interwoven for so many people across so many cultures.
My wife and I took a trip to the Colorado wine country and visited several wineries. Most were friendly and the experience was good. Two, however, stood out. Mesa Park Vineyards and one-winery-which-must-not-be-named. (Harry Potter reference…).
At Mesa Park Vineyards, we met Chuck, one of the owners. He’s a rocket scientist, literally, who got into wine making some years ago. He has a small tasting room which is very interestingly decorated. He was all there, entirely engaged with the four people who were visiting at that moment. He was effusive, talking about his wines, sharing stories from his past, listening to stories from the four of us. We probably sat there for 90 minutes and could have been there much longer were it not for a prior obligation. All along, he was pouring small samples of his wines and even pulled out a bottle not yet available for sale. It was like we were simply friends he hadn’t yet met. We felt so welcome and were so happy to bet there.
Conversely, at the must-not-be-named winery, we had a very different experience. The gentleman was engaged with friends of his who also happened to be there at the same time. He poured us samples, but all he gave us socially were very short obligatory style answers to our questions about the winery and the wines. We’d ask a question, get a quick answer, and back he went to his friends. In short, we felt like we were bugging him. We lasted maybe 25 minutes and the whole time, we wanted to be anywhere else.
The wines themselves at the two wineries were similar in style and quality. However, the experiences were entirely different, as were our impressions of the wines. My bet is that if I blind tasted all of the wines from both wineries, and had to rate them, they would be intermixed. Given our personal experiences though, we enjoyed Mesa Park’s wines far more than the other.
It’s all about the experience!