In pursuit of Winefulness

Picture the scene: On your way to a dinner party you stop to buy a bottle of wine. For some reason your usual confidence in a well-priced but relatively unknown wine is replaced by a gnawing feeling of doubt. Or maybe you’re on the clock with the babysitter and don’t have time to linger. Perhaps you just want to impress the hosts. Whatever the reason, you decide to splash out.

You arrive at the party and your special wine gets absorbed into the vortex of other bottles in a phenomenon not unlike the Bermuda Triangle – trying to retrieve it would not only be absurd, but also potentially dangerous. When, or perhaps if, your wine emerges it will be quaffed without any obvious reflection or consideration. Surely a wasted opportunity.

But what if we bothered to be more mindful when we drink great wine?

Now, I’m not suggesting ostentatious swirling and sniffing followed by an in-depth discussion of *insert overly technical/wine snob fact here*, but simply pausing our conversation for a second to actually taste – really taste – what we’re drinking.

You might have heard or read about the concept of mindfulness recently – it seems to be the new yoga. The cornerstone of mindfulness is being present so that you quiet your mind and experience the ‘now’ in all its sensory glory.

One of the original mindfulness gurus, Jon Kabat Zinn uses ‘the raisin consciousness’ exercise to introduce the idea and get people to consciously consider what they’re experiencing in exquisite detail. Apparently you’ll never think about raisins the same way again.

Aside from the odd corked bottle, drinking great wine should be an exceptional experience, but I’d bet the vast majority of wines are lucky to get even a fleeting thought before they’re down the hatch. The hard graft and care taken to justify the price point is barely shown the respect afforded a generic bottle from the supermarket. Not only is it a waste of money, but also a real missed opportunity to further our wine appreciation.

Next time you pull the cork on something special why not try a little mindfulness practice yourself? Stop and dedicate your senses for just a minute. You might just discover something mind-blowing. If not, raisins are a good bet. And a heck of a lot cheaper.