Late last summer, I was at a harvest dinner at Remembrance Farm, a biodynamic farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, and I was a little frustrated. It wasn't the food, which was wonderful. It wasn't the setting, which was perfect. It was that I was trying to tell a friend about a discussion my sister and I had, about whether my husband should be her sperm donor, and I kept being interrupted by people talking about wine.
I've never really cared much for wine talk. I like wine, and I like the idea of knowing about wine. I was even interested enough at one point in my twenties to take some wine-tasting classes. But those fluorescent lights. The sterile setting. All that bandying about of words like cloying, structured, flabby. Blah, blah, blah, I thought. Who wants to talk about their boyfriends?
True or False? New York is the fourth-largest wine-producing state in the country.
All of this is kind of ironic, because I live in an area that's known for its wines, particularly its Rieslings. Moreover, I spent my childhood here. But back then, the landscape featured mostly dairy farms and cornfields. And no one in my immediate family drank. My father has an inherent distrust of alcohol. He doesn't like the taste, alcoholism runs in his family and, in general, he doesn't enjoy drunk people (unless they're characters in a John Steinbeck story, in which case he finds them hilarious). My mother, who does enjoy drunk people, doesn't care much for wine, either. So it would only appear at the dinner table on special occasions, and even then, only a few people drank it.