Rhymes and reasons: Why do people love wine? We headed to Midtown Spirits Wine and Bites to find out

Wine is much more than just a beverage we consume. Wine’s history and importance are as old as civilization itself; evidence of its production dates back to 6000 B.C. 

In ancient Rome, wine was central to culture and society. It was consumed at every meal and integral to religious ceremonies. It continues to be used in religious ceremonies today. It’s a symbol of the blood of Christ in Christianity, and it is important in Judaism, where participants of the Passover Seder are required to drink four cups of wine at specific points, corresponding to the four expressions of redemption. 

Wine is also a source of inspiration and creativity. It has inspired countless artists, writers and filmmakers. Robert Louis Stevenson described wine as “bottled poetry.” In Death in the Afternoon, Ernest Hemingway reflects on wine’s potential for infinite enjoyment. Shakespeare highlighted the dual nature of wine as both a source of joy and pain. 

Wine has a huge economic impact, too. In 2022, the wine industry in the United States generated more than $276 billion, providing jobs, bolstering tourism and bringing in revenue through sales and taxes. 

Wine has also been reported to provide health benefits. Specifically, red wines have been shown to have high levels of the antioxidant resveratrol, which some studies suggest may fight diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Additional studies have shown how wine consumption in certain regions of the world may have an impact on the longevity of the people who live there. 

As a lover of all things wine, I find all of these facts to be important to me on an intellectual level—but why is wine important to me on a personal level? More importantly, why is wine important to anyone on a personal level? I decided to try to find out. 

In the name of science and a deep intellectual pursuit, I visited Midtown Spirits Wine and Bites. There, in that wine-bar jungle, I, much like Jane Goodall, observed the interactions and behaviors of the wine-drinkers, to determine why it was important to them. When that didn’t work, I decided to ask them. 

Jessie and her husband were sitting at the bar near me. She had a wine flight while he was drinking beer. When I asked Jessie why wine was important to her, she said, “I think first and foremost, wine is relaxing.” She went on to add, “I always do a flight wherever I go, just to try new ones from different regions. I enjoy the different histories of the regions and learning about them.” 

Jessie touched on two really important things—first, connecting wine with a region about which she’s curious, and second, using wine as part of a personal ritual to help escape life’s pressures. Learning and de-stressing are very important. 

The next person I spoke with was Melissa, who answered my question by saying, “When I first started drinking wine, I didn’t enjoy the taste, but I enjoyed the company around me.” 

George and Debbie were sipping on a nice wine when I interrupted them with my question. Debbie offered, “Well, it’s a big part of our social life. And we do a lot of traveling, and we try wine wherever we are. So we get to learn a little bit of local history through wine, and how it came about.”  

Melissa, George and Debbie hit on one of the big, important things about wine: It’s often associated with social gatherings and celebrations, creating a sense of community and shared experience. It can signify sophistication, relaxation and pleasure, enhancing meals and fostering connections among friends and family. 

Speaking of celebrations, Michelle and Nasia were sharing a bottle in the shadow of a “happy birthday” gift bag. I asked them about the importance of wine, and without taking a breath, Nasia, the birthday girl, said: “Because it is something that gathers friends and family together. It’s a gathering point and a socialization point where you can … share memories, share updates and share what’s going on in your life.”  

Michelle added: “For me, (wine) reminds me of an original event. Last night, I went out to dinner with friends, and afterwards, we went and bought a bottle—specifically, Austin Hope from Paso Robles. We had a bachelorette party there for a friend of ours, so last night when we were out, we said, ‘We love that wine. Let’s get it.’ It reminded us of that event.” 

Wine is important to us for many reasons—historical, religious, social, celebratory, artistic, economic and just because it is delicious. But whatever makes wine important to you is all that matters.