Monday, November 06, 2006
Châteauneuf du Pape
Scene: A Wine Shop, in the Archdiocese of Bordeaux
Enter a Customer
Wine Merchant: Good morning Monsieur. How may I help you?
Customer: I’d like a bottle of wine, please.
WM: (sighs) Aaah. A Bottliste. How quaint. (sighs, rolls eyes) Tell me Monsieur: do bottles exist for their own sake or for the sake of the wine inside?
C: Well, for the sake of the wine, obviously…
WM: So why not simply ask me for wine, if it’s wine you’re after? What's all this about "bottles"? Why this obsession with confining the wine, with locking it up, sealing it in? It’s a glorious gift from God – the stuff of love and life – it ought to run free…
C: Very generous sentiments, I’m sure. It’s rather difficult to take home though, without a bottle.
WM: (rolls eyes) Look, this is the twenty-first century. “Bottles” are ridiculous in this day and age. Today, we use these!
C: That’s a paper bag.
WM: You know very well it’s not a “paper bag”. It's the most attractive, modern, practical and adaptable means of transporting wine. Do you suppose the first wine-makers used glass bottles? Of course they didn’t – they used wineskins – and as a matter of fact these bags are much closer to the idea of a wineskin than a glass bottle. You can get them in all sorts of colours and patterns – they’re fantastic! Look - we even do kitschy bottle-shaped ones for nostalgia addicts like Monsieur.
C: They leak. And they make the wine taste funny.
WM: Rubbish! They were designed by experts – they don’t leak. You’re simply not using them correctly. You should read the instructions. The “taste” thing is entirely in your imagination. Get over it.
C: Hmmm. I never needed to “read the instructions” to take wine home in a bottle. “Experts” or not, these things are always half-empty by the time you get them home, and what remains is indistinguishable from vinegar after two days. My wife started picking them up a while ago, till we lost patience with the leaks and the peculiar flavour. The kids thought they looked cool for about ten minutes, but they’ve never developed an interest in wine (I blame the peculiar, synthetic after-taste). They're into supermarket vodka, I fear…
WM: Oh, here we go…elitist snobbery about “vodka”. What’s wrong with vodka? Who are you to turn your nose up at vodka? Actually, we’re thinking about doing a line in vodka ourselves. You should listen to your kids, instead of sneering at them. How typically judgmental!
C: Look, I only came in here for a bottle of wine…
WM: No you didn’t. You don’t care about wine. You don’t understand the first thing about wine. You came in here to waste my time with your dead, sterile arguments about bottles.
C: Okay, can I have a bottle of wine please?
C: All right - I get the message. By the way, I understand very few people come in here any more. Any idea why that might be?
WM: YES!! IT’S BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU!!!