This article is a part of our Matters of Taste series, essays from our favorite writers on the artifacts and abstractions they hold most dear in their drinking lives.
You could use more laughs in your life. More warm memories with friends, more reasons to crack into old bottles clanking around your pantry. You may also be running Americanly low on rituals in your life. For all of these, I suggest trying the same remedy: Every time you open a bottle of wine, someone at the table or at the picnic table or at the beach towel or wherever you happen to be should, in the most entertaining way they can muster, read the label aloud.
Dramatic readings of wine labels make a meal feel like an occasion. They don’t just break the ice, they smash it to a fine powder. Dramatic readings of wine labels bring out comedic flair, absurd accents, and a plethora of linguistic talents both real and aspirational. Don’t speak Italian? Let the label on your Chianti be your tutor. Never dabbled in German? Blitz a Riesling label and change that. As everyone swirls that chalky Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, go ahead and treat the label, at top volume, with telenovelian intensity, even if it sounds like Spanish-language karaoke. You paid $14 for that bottle, so get every last peso’s worth of fun out of it.If hasty wine buyers pick bottles based on basic info with a hint of vibes, the savvy marketers know to meet us there. At some point we all have bluffed our way through a wine tasting, tossing around “mouthfeel” and “body” and “tannins” before we knew our leathers from our barnyards. Of course, we could use some crib notes. Tasting clues are a great first step. Where the grapes grew, same. Then, since we’re talking, the winemaker might wax lyrical.
Our wine tour packages also include a delicious dinner in the vine, and small group tours so you can enjoy your privacy. What makes the tour more memorable is the added advantage of the scenic views that Solvang offers.