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Why do I drink?  Well, if you knew my family, you’d understand.  Wait, they may be reading this, so scratch that.

As my inaugural wine column, I figured this as fertile subject matter.

Patrick McGovern in his book, Uncorking The Past, answered thusly, “The health benefits [of wine] are obvious – alcohol relieves pain, stops infection, and seems to cure diseases.  Its psychological and social benefits are equally apparent – alcohol eases the difficulties of everyday life, lubricates (hey, reader, watch where your mind is wandering) social exchanges, and contributes to a joy in being alive.  Perhaps most profoundly, alcohol’s mind-altering effects tap into mystical, unseen realms of the human brain.”

Boy, there are some days when I could use some “mind-altering.”

A recent event used wine to manifest many of many of Mr. McGovern’s observations.

In August, my wife, Terry, and I went to Lompoc with several friends to experience Wine and Fire, a purely delightful wine and food tasting hosted by the Santa Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.  Many excellent wineries were there, pouring mostly their 2011 vintage Pinot Noir. 

Some of our favorites were Brewer-Clifton, Loring, Pali, and Cargasacchi. 

When I got to Adam Lee, owner of Siduri, the wine had begun to ease some of my life’s difficulties and was lubricating nicely my social exchanges.  I’ve done enough drinking and going to these events to get to know some of the winemakers.  Adam is one of my favorites.  He’s a transplanted Texan who, along with his wife, Dianna, makes consistently outstanding Pinot.  In fact, Wine Spectator said, “the Lees’ Siduri label has become a beacon for California Pinot Noir.”

Adam’s a real kick in the pants.  He became a winemaker because, as he says, “I sucked at wine retail.”  He doesn’t suck at making wine.  His Pinots are outstanding – a great bouquet and a full, voluptuous wine.  His Pinots have some heft to them along with dimensions that evolve. 

Wine and Fire reminded me why I drink.  I get to spend time with my lovely wife, hang out with good friends, drink some mystical juice, and overall experience some of what there is to enjoy.  Why wouldn’t I drink?

© Carl Kanowsky