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Monday, December 10, 2018

Wine - The Socially Acceptable Adult Beverage

Have you noticed how wine is pushed at women at every turn? Many TV shows/movies show people sitting down to a meal, almost always with a glass of wine. Gift shops, the domain of women,  have all kinds of "trinkets and trash" joking about wine, normalizing it. Coasters, tea-towels, refrigerator magnets, wall signs, t-shirts, socks, you name it and there is likely a version with something about wine. We have several in our home, a magnet, "How Merlot Can You Go", coasters, "Domestic Bliss, One Bottle Of Cabernet Away", "Tea (sad face), Coffee (okay face), Wine (manic grin)", a little sign, "What Happens At The Winery Stays At The Winery", socks covered in wine bottles. Well you get the picture, wine has become mainstream, the "oh so socially acceptable" adult beverage. The commercials and TV shows/movies always show it as a sign of sophistication, the message, successful people drink wine. Wine shows you have good taste, you discern the good things in life. The TV ads always show beautiful wineries, happy, slim, successful people enjoying life with a glass of wine in hand.

Wineries are everywhere, even here in NE Indiana there are three within ten miles of our home, all promote "come in for a free tasting" which works out to about a glass of wine on the house, then you feel that you should purchase a bottle, after all you just enjoyed free wine! It seems to me all a scam, the wine at our local wineries is not good at all and extremely overpriced so they can afford to give the free tasting. Of course they proudly proclaim all of their awards, of which I am highly skeptical, it"s simply all part of the marketing. You are enjoying a hand crafted, sophisticated beverage, tasted by so called "experts"  who have determined it is "oh, so fruity, subtle, summer in a bottle, hints of strawberry and oak with a lovely bouquet". 

What a bunch of bunk, it is an alcoholic beverage just like spirits and beer. Yet it is elevated above other adult beverages as the one drink you can enjoy without fear of judgement and it is marketed almost primarily towards women. 

The other evening I stopped to pick up groceries at a local Kroger. While waiting in line I noticed the following:

A middle aged lady in my line at the check out - purchasing at least six bottles of wine - Kroger does sell wine at a lower price if you purchase six or more bottles - perhaps in a way she was being frugal, perhaps stocking up for the holidays - who knows.

The elderly lady behind me, the only items she had - two Franzia box wines.

A little girl with her mom behind the elderly lady - the mom clutching a large bottle of wine and a wine glass.

I am not trying to pass judgement on any of these ladies, I am simply pointing out that the slick marketing of wine to women is working, and working well, but at what cost? We are bombarded with the sophistication of wine drinking, but how many women go from enjoying a glass of wine in the evening, to suddenly needing two? And, before they know it a bottle a night is the norm. It becomes an expensive habit, it begins to dominate their life, all occasions  revolve around a glass of wine, or two. It bothers me just how "normalized" wine drinking has become. A recent article stated that women's life expectancy is now lower, closer to that of men, and the main reason is the rise in alcohol consumption and smoking in women, how is this good? 

I have always enjoyed wine, but over the past year I felt that my enjoyment of wine passed a tipping point from enjoying a glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week, to suddenly feeling that a glass was needed each evening, which then became a couple of glasses in an evening, and to be honest they were quite large glasses of wine. I started worrying about how much wine was dominating my thoughts, why I was drinking it daily, my recycling bin for glass scared me as it confronted me with just how much wine was consumed in our house. I would go a few days and not drink wine, but would fall right back in and then feel badly about it. If I had a stressful day I would think about the evening glass of wine, if I had a good day I would think about how I would enjoy that evening glass of wine. I could literally see my thought process changing to justify the wine drinking, telling myself I was stressed and "needed" a glass of wine, oh how we can deceive ourselves. The reality, the stress I was feeling was probably for the most part imagined, and if any really existed it was probably due to the wine drinking - a rather vicious circular argument whirling around and around in my thoughts. 

All summer I prayed about my relationship with wine, I felt that wine now controlled me and not the other way around. One evening in October I poured a glass of wine, took a sip, and it tasted awful, absolutely awful, I didn't finish the glass (my husband did). The next evening I tried a different wine, and the same thing, it was tasted revolting, I couldn't drink it.  So, I just stopped drinking it, several weeks later my husband had a glass of wine, I took a sip of it, you know just in case it might taste all right again, but no, it tasted dreadful. So upshot is I haven't had any wine over the past two months. Do I miss it, not at all, it is so very, very freeing indeed.

How am I feeling? Well great actually. I had no idea how dragged down my two large glasses of wine a day habit made me. I worried about my drinking, but never thought it really caused any damage, I was never hung over, I never got "drunk". But it apparently it did have impact on my mood. I now wake up energized, ready to go, I get more accomplished each day, feel happier, less stressed, and free. I thank God for this, I truly believe my prayers were answered, and for that I am very, very thankful.

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