And so as the velvet curtains part, an unlikely superhero steps forward - ladies, gentlemen and gathered woodland creatures, respect for todays guest speaker, the one, the only Aunty Marianne
Gather round, my children, for in today’s lesson, I would wax lyrical upon the subject of wine. (Wine encourages lyrical waxation, and luxuriation, which is why one waxes, for how can one luxuriate unwaxed?).
Let us start by considering wine in relation to beer. Beer is what the solitary male drinks to drown his loneliness, the fuel of youthful confrontation that turns to riot, and when it sours it is the poison that vandalises things and souls. As it itself turns to belly fat, it turns the sportsman into a mere spectator. It deceives so that the night’s new-found true-found love becomes the morning’s despair. Beer can be made in four days from pillaged grain in a jerrycan strapped to the back of a rebel’s jeep. It is a drink of the transient, a drink of the unrooted, a drink of the unhomed. It is a drink that requires no society either for its making or for its consumption, a drink discovered in the days before civilisation even began.
The grapevine, however, has been bred over centuries to provide the best wines. It must be planted on undisputed land, for it takes six or seven years to start producing sufficient fruit for winemaking. Its fruit must then be trampled and its juice bottled in a joyous work in which the whole village takes part. Then the barrels are left to quietly mature, undisturbed by conflict, and then the village bottles the wine, and then it is laid down to mature again. A wine will tell you, as it crosses your tongue, what aromas and savours it longs to be enjoyed with. And that enjoyment in turn brings families and friends and old adversaries around tables to eat and drink and make merry and forgive, forgive. The Romans used it to clean wounds, it heals and protects from heart disease and cancer, and aids digestion. It is not for drinking alone: wine is the drink a man shares in anticipation with his lover, that he lays down for his childrens’ weddings the day they are born, and in which he warms hands and hearts with old friends when it is the pleasure that remains in the wintry sun of their lives.
And this is why, if we wish for peace in our hearts, peace in our lives, peace in our time, we should all drink as much wine as we like. Amen.
Here endeth the lesson.
*Bows gracefully and offers her a glass of finest bordeaux*