Everyone has to start somewhere. Wines are everywhere to be procured. In the old days it seemed that wine was only sold in bulk gallon jugs, but that could be, because I grew up in a highly ethnically mixed neighborhood. You would see wines with brand names like Gallo and Famiglia Cribari. The labels would have such descriptions as “Red Wine,” “White Wine,” Port and Chianti. Then in one of the back closets at church you would see gallon jugs that said “Altar Wine.”
People would buy these wines and enjoy them or grimace and wonder what all the fuss about wines was about. Then there were the bottles of Chianti that seemed to be everywhere from fancy pizzerias and local Italian restaurants, the wines that had a wicker wrapped bottle. This wicker-work is called a “fiasco” which is how some wine enthusiasts would insist is a proper description. The wicker-work was done by hand back then, so the wine was the least expensive and had the least quality of the vintner. The bottles were designed to be standing erect, and usually had shorter corks (both indications that the wine was not designed for long-term storage, but for immediate use). In the old days in the movies or on television you would see the bottles in the background of sets with a tall candle inserted in the neck, and candle wax drippings down the bottle; a very Bohemian type of atmosphere.
I have always viewed this migration of the wine industry as a positive growth. People started becoming more adventurous with decisions. I really enjoy seeing this up-growth of people drinking wine. At parties, people would have wine set out, and a lot of hosts would make it a point to pour me a full glass of wine (knowing that I am an outspoken advocate of wine), not realizing that the glass should not be filled to the brim. When I am offered the glass, I always accept it, and taste it with them. I then try to tactfully suggest that the next time when they are shopping for wine, they should try to look for a different type of the same wine. How many times have I nursed a glass of wine, rather than insult my host or hostess.
Any attempt to get more people to enjoy wines is a great idea. It is also wonderful when the next time I see some of my past hosts or hostesses and they thank me for the last suggestion. They may not be able to verbalize the difference of my last suggestion, but they readily admit that there was a marked improvement in taste. I find that very satisfying and humbling at the same time. It is even better when they asked for a suggestion that is one step above the last recommendation. I hope that I have started another wine enthusiast for the future, as they have begun to take the small steps to better enjoyment.