Most overused wine quotes and memes revealed

It’s always nice to fling a good quotation into an article or conversation and there are plenty to choose from when it comes to wine. Why then does it seem to be that from the cornucopia of wine quotes there are but a tired old handful that seem to be doing the rounds?

stop-it-signNo one for example ever uses this from the late Christopher Hitchens’ autobiography Hitch-22: A Memoir:

“Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the Seder at Passover, which is obviously modelled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated.

“No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It’s not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today’s Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn’t particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human.”

Granted, it’s not particularly catchy as a wine quote goes but it has its moments. “Alcohol makes other people less tedious,” is particularly pertinent with regards this piece.

If you’d like something pithier though why not something from the aforementioned Khayyam himself?

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.” Much better.

A good quote can convey a point that bolsters an argument or pricks an ego; can be a salient observation in its own right and add pathos or humour to a statement.

Sadly they’re also something of a refuge for the unimaginative which is probably why there’s a fairly limited clutch that seem to appear rather too frequently.

It’s not so much that they are bad quotes, inaccurate or cringe worthy in themselves, so much as they have now been so overused that their appearance is simply clichéd, and an increasingly grinding annoyance.

One doesn’t want to suck all the fun and archness out of wine of course, in fact it’s to be positively encouraged and it’s true these quotes are mostly being used by people who are just very stop-itenthusiastic about wine, but on the other hand it’s just too saccharine for true Anglo-Saxon tastes and like all sweet things in high doses they become sickly.

The other problems with their use are manifold and to lay out the case against them in full requires greater space than can be given here or now. Essentially though, at worst, they either reduce wine to the crushingly pedestrian or are wrapped in the pseudo-philosophical, smug, smarmy cloak of one-upmanship that wine is trying really desperately to leave behind it.

Despite what their users imagine them to be, they are no longer clever nor funny, still less original. The advance of social media is also helping the pedlars of these banalities reach ever larger audiences – appreciative or not – and so it is becoming an increasing problem. One can barely scroll down a twitter feed anymore without some supposedly amusing wine-related twaddle cropping up.

To anyone riding any of these and probably a few other quotes and memes to destruction like a knackered old nag, we say this: You are neither a shining wit nor a world-weary barfly. Stop it, right now… please.

Please click through to the next page to see our hit-list…

5 Responses to “Most overused wine quotes and memes revealed”

  1. Surely the antidote to that horrible champagne quote are the words of Coco Chanel: “I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not”

  2. Pippa Hayward says:

    How about this for a cautionary piece of advice….

    “If you’re given Champagne at lunch, there’s a catch somewhere ” Lord Lyons in 1981 In Geoffrey Madan’s Notebooks

  3. Mark says:

    I love to cook with wine… sometimes I even add it to the food…

  4. Justin McInerny says:

    I shouldn’t let it bother me but Hitchens’ glib, comments get under my skin. His claim that “Seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium”, seems to be incorrect. What we know as the seder today appears to have started about 576 BCE whereas Plato was not born until around 428 BCE.

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