I don’t get wine (and neither does anyone else)

What’s the thing when you sniff it and swirl it around the glass all about?


You know how it is, you’re at a pre-drinks, at a nice bar, at a dinner party. You expect that it’s going to be still full of absolute lads strawpedoing cheap plonk and one girl in the corner bitching about how they don’t have any diet lemonade to mix with her vodka. But it’s not. It’s been invaded by the worst, most pretentious set of early-mid-twenties. They care about one thing in this world – wine. Well, so they say.

I can’t cope with people pretending that wine suddenly matters once you hit your twenties. Just because you’ve hit third year and think you’re far too sophisticated to be downing Lambrini and guzzling cheap beer you think that means you have to suddenly care about wine. You’re thinking wistfully of your graduate life in London and how important it is that you get a head start now on being a proper grown up by pretending you know enough to appreciate the subtle variations in each bottle of wine. You’ve even looked into joining the wine appreciation society at uni to meet other kindered spirits and like-minded souls.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

White wine tastes like piss, and red wine tastes like vinegar, and you know it. It doesn’t matter what year it was bottled, or whether it’s a Bordeaux or a fucking Hardy’s, it’s all the same. Basically, at its core, there are only three types of wine – white, red and pink… Okay rosé. It serves one purpose – to get drunk, and get drunk fast. Stop sniffing your glass at dinner parties and talking about the area in France it comes from and why Australian wine is just not the same. Nobody’s listening to you. Nobody ever listened to you, probably, and that’s why you’re trying to force this terrible chat on everyone in earshot. What do you want them to say? That they think your selection is top notch? That you’re totally right about that deep aroma? That it wasn’t your fault dad left?

Pretend wine-connoisseurs have a handful of helpful phrases that they’ll use and re-use so nobody clocks how much of a clueless cunt they actually are. They’ll talk about how the wine is “light” or “deep-bodied” or “fruity”, or they’ll make a throwaway comment about how this particular bottle is “enjoyed best with roasted lamb”. Everyone will nod along and avoid each others eyes and pretend that they didn’t read the exact same vapid descriptions from the back of the bottle and that they’re all refined with excellent taste and their lives aren’t meaningless.

Dinner parties are the epicentre of pseudo-wine lover behaviour. People take these as opportunities to play-act that they’re proper grown up now, and that means pretending to stomach wine apparently. Do we want to sound like your parents, is that what it is? Do we feel like puberty didn’t really do the job, so this mid-priced Merlot will make us feel like more of a mature human being? Well we’re not your parents. And they would probably be ashamed. In reality, we’ve probably tried a bit of wine on holiday in Magaluf and now you’re attempting to bring that faux-sophistication back home with us. Well I’m not in the Loire Valley, and to be honest, I don’t even know where that is.

Nobody knows what a bouquet is, not really. Nobody knows he importance of the year it was bottled. You’re squinting at the shelves in Tescos and you won’t buy the £3.99 bottle. You’re going straight for the £12.50 because this is an important signifier. I just don’t know why. Why do we pretend it matters? Why am I frantically Googling “lol wine chat” before pre-drinks and secretly checking my Wikipedia in pub toilets so I have something to contribute to these boring discussions.

Who am I even trying to impress? Does anyone actually about the woody undertones and floral aftertaste? Why don’t we love ourselves, and accept that really, we all just pine for the days of Breezers and Wetherspoons’ finest Bin.