Wine: It Tastes Good to Me

Wine: It Tastes Good to Me August 15, 2011

There’s a scene in Sideways in which Miles, played by Paul Giamatti, tastes a wine and compares it to the back of an LA school bus, tar, turpentine, and Raid.

His sidekick, Jack (Thomas Haden Church) replies, “It tastes good to me.”

I’m taking a break from blogging things religious today to write a bit about wine, which, I must admit, mostly tastes good to me most of the time.

For many years now, Courtney has been the official photographer of the Texas Sommelier Conference, better known as TexSom. For the last couple years, I’ve attended TexSom, ridden on Courtney’s coattails enough to get a couple nice meals, a little free wine, and a couple nights’ stay at the Four Seasons Dallas.

But I’ve come to know the organizers, James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks, over the years, and this time around they asked me to give a social media seminar as part of a pre-conference day of social and traditional media training (my presentation is here). As a presenter, I am afforded more opportunities than a freeloading spouse sitting by the Four Seasons pool. I went to a couple wine seminars yesterday, and I’m going to a couple today.

At first blush, the seminars — on wines from Spain and from South Africa — could be seen as the making for parody, with people swirling, sniffing, and spitting, and talk of “hints of wet Band-Aid” about a particular wine.

But in fact, as the sommeliers who were leading the seminars showed powerpoint slides of different rock, I could begin to taste the “minerality” from a certain type of granite in the wine.

Wine talk is a discrete language, and one that must be learned. Me sitting in the seminars would be much like a sommelier sitting in a theology seminar — much goes over my head, but what I can catch increases my appreciation of wine measurably.

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  • I’m more of a beer drinker personally (favorites: Guinness, Sam Adams, and Delaware-brewed Dogfish Head), but I also love a good wine. I’m not a connoiseur, but to quote the old Peter Gabriel-era Genesis song, I know what I like and I like what I know. (And most of what I like comes in a screw-cap!)

  • Kevin

    But Tony, wine IS religious. If you think not, your religion is too small. You’re not really taking a break at all, if you think about it. (-:

  • To throw some theology into the mix, there’s a great line from a Rumi poem that compares an increased awareness of God’s Presence to “When grapes turn to wine.” David Wilcox has, in turn, written a song using the poem on his album “Out Beyond Ideas,” on the which all the lyrics come from the book “Love Poems from God” (

  • Chris Erdman

    Tony, you’d love the movie Bottle shock.

  • …which I guess is a way of saying I enjoy wine, but I don’t believe in it. 🙂

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