It’s stressful enough for many of us to come up with the perfect toast at a dinner party.
But I think it’s even more important to avoid the dreaded silences that come with the ebbs in conversation. If you’ve had dinner with me you know I am not one for comfortable silence.
Here are a few wine stories to impress your friends and family and keep the conversation (and wine) flowing at the table.
There’s the ancient Latin phrase in vino veritas, “in wine there is truth.” But it’s always that small step beyond the truth that makes for the best wine legend.
Saying “Cheers!” as we clink glasses with our friends and family was a ritual started in the Middle Ages. Poisoning was considered the normal way of dismissing an enemy and to ensure glasses were poison-free, those at the table would first pour a small amount of wine from their glass into the other glasses at the table. If there were poison in one it would now be in all. Another version says the practice of clinking glasses is to dispel evil spirits in the room. Eventually, the custom transformed to what it is today, a wish of good health and fellowship.
Women have been at the center of the world’s wine legends from almost the beginning. One legend credits a woman with discovering wine. According to lore, the woman suffered from severe migraines. She lived in a harem in the palace of King Jamshid in Persia. One day as she was in severe pain she noticed a spoiled jar of grapes in the process of foaming and fermenting. Her thought was it was poison and she would drink the entire jar. Instead of ending her life she discovered the elixir had miraculously cured her headache. And, again as the story and legend go, the king ordered wine to be served at all royal functions in the future.
And then there’s this famous quotation from Benjamin Franklin. It should be noted that this quotation is often incorrectly attributed to being about beer, but in fact Franklin was writing about rain and wine.
“We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”
Short version: “Wine is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Cheers to that.