The Collection: Culture & Wine

Build your understanding of the interaction between wine and culture from thousands of years ago to present day, how wine has become a part of the well known components of culture especially in rituals, art, literature and our day to day language. Beginning with a definition and overview of the “concept” of culture, here are 8 easy to read posts that will definitely add to your enjoyment of that next bottle you buy. Click any link to learn more.

1. Culture Defined

Is Wine part of the Culture of any society, or is wine merely an artefact of culture, something that arises from wine being made within that society? Or maybe there is only a culture OF wine such as is easily experienced when visiting parts of France such as Burgundy, Alsace or Bordeaux? This is my opening article in what will be a series of posts about Culture and Wine. Read more

2. Rituals & Customs

Without cultural context wine is meaningless. When divorced from the human references that define the origin, style and quality of wine – the elements that underwrite its fundamental appeal – wine becomes entirely functional, a mere intoxicant, just as it was when spontaneously fermented grapes were first discovered by our ancient ancestors. Read more

3. Faiths, Beliefs, Symbols

From the actual situation of the elbow, we are enabled to drink at our ease, the glass going directly to the mouth. Let us, then, with glass in hand adore this benevolent wisdom; let us adore and drink! Read more

4. A Lost Culture

So far I have labelled a group of elements that we know to be strong influencers of culture, or indeed part OF it. But what isn’t shown in my model is how culture AFFECTS our beliefs, our attitudes and of course our behaviour. Pay a visit to countries with a different culture to your own and you will soon see the difference, but also you will recognise a subtle change in your OWN behaviour. Read more

5.1 Art

One does not need to be an expert on art in all its forms to understand and accept that art influences and is a reflection of any society. In fact it seems to me that art is like a \”storage facility\” or a culture’s collective memory through time, enabling us to look back at paintings, sculpture, music and literature from which we can understand different cultures or different eras of our own society. Read more

5.2 Literature

There are many ways to write about wine. At one extreme there is the technical — a language of terroir involving geology and environmental science, vines, grapes, harvesting, fermentation, bottling and vintages. Moving a little to the centre there is writing about neuroscience and sensory perception, the aesthetics of taste and whether our judgements of a wine are subjective or objective. Moving even more to the centre of the spectrum, we encounter tasting notes. These may be technical in nature or poetic. Read more

6. Food & Wine

There can be no doubt that food is a significant part of culture with whole societies having a cuisine relative to their culture. Also there are regional cuisines that reflect subcultures within an overall society. Think about some of the holidays you might have had in foreign lands and the common food you have found there, the staple food eaten by the general population. Read more

7. Language

A complex subject, so, an easy one to start …. my grandparents will have never heard the words Champagne or Prosecco, two wine words that are known today by every adult in the Western World and beyond; they are quite definitely part of everyday language. Then there is Liebfraumilch…… the white wine of the 60s, not forgetting Blue Nun of course, and Mateus Rose, all iconic wines from that era, and part of everyday language in the 60s too. And, as far as I can remember, nobody knew nor cared where those wines were from or what the grape varietals were! Read more

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