(This is my entry for #MWWC10 based on the theme Value(s) chosen by last month’s winner the Sybarite)
I must admit….I struggled with this topic. So much so, that in my mind, I said…”nope, not entering this one!” But as the deadline approaches, I find myself thinking deeply on this topic. As our illustrious previous winner stated: it’s a broad topic. It could go many different ways. Yes, it is. So the question is, where do I go with this?
There was a tasting at the store I work at part-time, hosted by a lovely Italian man who represented Donnafugata…(some great wines by the way). He mentioned something that I paid attention to: He is a former military man and talked of how on the barracks, the men were actually allowed to consume wine at lunch. Really? Like, just go to the little machine, push a button, and have a glass of wine? Yes, JUST like that. His point was that as Europeans, they specifically drink wine to enhance their gastronomic experience, not to get drunk as it were. He also said that if one of the men had a little “too much”, they’d be facing severe reprimand from the commanding officer. So, as a matter of curiosity, I did a little internet research, wanting to see any instances of drunk driving or the like in Europe, but specifically in Italy. Sadly, it DOES exist all over the world, but the tolerance level in Italy seems much lower than perhaps in North America. To be honest, I was hoping to report that it was non-existent. But yeah, they do have DUI’s there and fines and consequences are stiff.
To put this in perspective for you a bit, I live in the 5th largest city in Canada. Our southern counterpart city is listed as 3rd, surpassed only by Toronto and Montreal. I live in the richest province in Canada, immigrants are entering daily, so no doubt the population will just keep growing. That’s a lot of people…and the larger the population, the more alcohol that is purchased and consumed. The greater the risks are that people will drink, and then think they are ok enough to get in their vehicles and drive. If you get caught drinking and driving, there are serious consequences. Increased insurance costs, a fine of $1000, loss of your Driver’s license anywhere from 1-3 years, and the most costly…a criminal record. Bottom line: you have a criminal record and you can’t leave the country. Period. And it takes a whole heck of a lot to get that record expunged. You can’t leave and that my friends, would seriously suck. How would you get to those vineyards in France, Spain or Italy?
Why am I telling you this? Because it’s important to me. And in my line of work, I can’t afford to make mistakes. I initially thought it was silly, but whenever I have a tasting, my husband insists on driving me. And I’m thankful. So, unless I have a ride, or I’m taking public transportation, I am NOT drinking and driving. How silly would it be…me, a wine professional, educating folks on wine, but then I can’t drive to my destination because I lost my license due to having one too many, and then thought I was ok to drive? Because I didn’t value the grape enough? And really? It IS about respecting the grape. Wine has alcohol folks, and you best be aware of that reality. The Armchair Sommelier spoke of it seriously in one of her recent posts. We tend to make jokes about how getting drunk is fun, or cool, or something needed at the end of a long, tough day at the office. We laugh at all those silly little postcards and sayings. Really, it’s no laughing matter, especially if you are faced with a criminal record. Respect the grape…don’t make jokes; it’s all about the tasting, not so much the drinking. We were all young and stupid once, and yeah, I’ve been guilty of drinking too much now and then, but my husband is great, and he always told me: “I’ll be the DD whenever you need it” That is true love my friends!!
All this to say….I’m not saying drinking wine is BAD. In fact, suffice it to say, that I pretty much drink wine every night. But, I’m not a raging alcolholic, and I don’t mishandle it. I’m in this industry almost full time so why would I say that? Another Bottom line: I value this passion of mine. This passion called wine, and I must treat it with the respect it deserves. I value being a person of integrity, confidence and professionalism in this industry. So that’s what I will continue to be…