This past weekend I dabbled in this world with my partner’s parents as we journeyed to Rubino for a backroom wine tasting. They are very much into this world and its surrounding culture. They often share their favorite wines with me but sometimes it's hard to appreciate them the same way they seem to.
Wine has never seemed as approachable to me. Many high-quality wines are expensive, which can create the perception that only wealthy or elite individuals can afford to enjoy them and contributes to a feeling of exclusivity within the wine world.
Many winemakers and sommeliers take pride in their knowledge, expertise, and their ability to come up with unique descriptions. For less experienced wine drinkers this may come across as pretentious or snobbish when discussing wine. I remember watching a Netflix documentary on what it took to be a sommelier. A participant in a wine tasting challenge described a drink as having “notes of blackberry and garden hose”. I turned off the TV.
Funnily enough wine was originally a staple beverage for many cultures. In ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks and Romans, wine was an everyday drink that was consumed by people of all social classes. It was often used as a form of currency, and was considered a necessity for daily life.
Back at the wine tasting the most interesting part was when our guide walked us through the history of wine production in the Livermore region.
Livermore was first settled by European immigrants in the mid-1800s, who quickly discovered the fertile land as an ideal climate for growing grapes. The first winery in Livermore was established in 1858, by a man named Charles Wetmore, who went on to become the first president of the California State Board of Viticulture.
Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, Livermore's winemaking industry continued to grow and thrive, with many wineries and vineyards being established in the area. The city's winemakers were known for their high-quality wines, which gained popularity and recognition both locally and internationally.
Our guide was very down to earth and walked us through a series of wine types that I can’t remember. All I recall was there was a white section and a red section. He helped us pair some wines with certain cheeses and I was surprised when I actually noticed a difference in taste when paired with food. I was more used to IPAs blowing out your taste buds so you couldn’t even recognize what you were eating.
To be honest, all in all I ended up having a great time at the vineyard. After the tasting we explored the grounds and took pictures together in front of the long rows of grape vines. If wine is just another excuse to get together with the people you love, I think I can get behind it.