I wasn’t always a wine drinker. Although I guess I did start out drinking Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers as an under age drinker. Oh and there was that time when I gave out bottles of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill when I was in high school. Imagine this story as if it were happening today: A store called Pic N’ Save sold bottles of Strawberry Hill wine for a dollar and my mom had no idea the wine meant it actually contained alcohol. I asked her to buy ten bottles for me to give to my friends as Christmas gifts and she did. Yes, my friends were also under age. And yes, I gave the gifts out at school. Apparently, the label didn’t give a clear description of its contents so I got away with giving bottles of wine to minors on a school campus. There are so many things wrong with that story but hey, it’s a glimpse of my early days in giving out thoughtful pinches. Anyway, wine wasn’t my beverage of choice for years even when I was the legal drinking age. Until one evening when I was living in Chicago and I had just started eating meat again after a seven year hiatus. The waiter at Gibson’s on Rush Street explained that in order for the steak to be at its maximum flavor, the wine I chose would make a huge difference. Meaning, the wine brings out the flavor of the steak and the steak brings out the notes in the wine. I fell for it and from that night on, I have always believed in the power of wine.
Luckily for me, Two-Buck Chuck was around so I was able to get my hands on some wine even on the small budget that I was on for years. Nowadays, my choices are bit more finicky but I’m not at the point of having a tasting room in my house or even owning a wine fridge. Even though I like white wine, I prefer to drink red because I can drink loads and still function normally the very next day. However, if I drink two or more glasses of white, I’m either hung over or my right arm is numb the next day. No thanks. Maybe the problem is I can’t stop at two glasses. Lol. No, really - who can stop at two? On a hot summer day it’s just too easy to order glass after glass. Which leads me to Rosé.
Aaahhh, Rosé. In Minnesota where summer is pronounce in it’s arrival, it needs to be celebrated and what better way to welcome the warmer weather? Rosé. I’m not sure why Rosé does not effect me like a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, but I’m very glad to have it in my repertoire. I will say, that weeks before the end of summer (in our case, before the pool is closed at the club), I am so OVER Rosé that even if it is still ninety degrees outside, I will come crawling back to my red wine like a loyal friend. I think for me, Rosé just has to have a start and end date in order for it to work out.
Another blast from the past is during one of the weekly playdates when my kids were babies the moms were sitting around chit-chatting and one of them confessed. She said,“You know how you would pour yourself a glass of wine on a Friday night as the reward for a long week? Then slowly a glass was poured on a Thursday night as a “pre-party” for the Friday’s glass? Then Wednesday? Well, I’ve skipped Tuesday and now I just start my glasses on Mondays.“ There was not one of us in that room who could not relate. We were not alone, thanks to our bond over wine. My confession: when the kids got a little older and my son was running all over the place, I started every evening pouring myself a tall glass of wine. I would be so busy that I wouldn’t have time to drink the wine until about 10p and by then I was too tired to drink it so I would pour it down the drain. That had to be some sort of sin! My sister-in-law caught me one night and she demanded that I always make time for wine. And that folks, is a thoughtful pinch in itself.
Speaking of babies and running around, there is a reason why sippy cups were invented. This one is a crowd pleaser for adults! Back in 2013, during a family reunion, my cousin gave me my first wine sippy cup because you know, we CAN NOT be spilling wine! This thoughtful pinch is perfect for my tailgate situation because I’m usually the only one drinking wine and so now I don’t have to pack the whole bottle. Instead, I pack a cup to go and I’m all set.
These silicone cups are not the most earth-shattering gifts out there but for a wine drinker who likes to be mobile, they are not only thoughtful but they are fun, convenient and safe. I found them in the Uncommon Goods catalog when I was shopping for Christmas gifts. I bought a bunch because ever since last year, thanks to Facebook, I have been writing a Thoughtful Pinch post (in my head) when I learned about "Drink Wine Day". Well, the year flew by and February 18th is now only days away so I'm getting these cups ready to give away to some friends.
You may or may not be relieved to know that I don’t drink wine quite as often as I did when I was in the trenches (infant to Kindergarten), but I do L-O-V-E wine. My date nights, my GNO’s, my vacations with my sister-in-law, my church events (um, hello, I’m Catholic!) and most of all - my medium rare steaks - are all better with a tall pour of really good cabernet or pinot noir.
So raise your glasses in the air on February 18, 2017. I will be toasting dear Jimmy Stallman who died a couple of weeks ago from pancreatic cancer and left our neighborhood far too soon. After Jimmy’s funeral we will celebrate his life which is fitting to do on "Drink Wine Day" because if he were here, he’d make sure the entire neighborhood was at his house having wine with him. We miss you Jimmy. May you rest in peace.