It seems like a simple question, when you're asked why you like wine, why you love wine, or why you're such a wine geek..It's tough to answer though, isn't it! It isn't tough to spew out a sentence or two with some generic phrases that leaves the questioner thinking "ummm so I still only know that you're really into wine, great answer there genius!". It IS tough to concisely explain why we love wine so much. I keep thinking there's got to be a good way to do it in three sentences. Not three run-on sentences, but three easy to understand sentences. Why did I pick three though?
We've all probably asked a "why" question about someone else's interest in wine. I know I have, and I can relate from personal experiences that I've gotten a wide variety of answers. Some people take the question as an excuse to ramble on for 15 minutes about terroir, expressionism, artistry, tastiness, and how it speaks to their soul. Others simply say "I like wine because it tastes good". And of course everything in between. Which answer or answers have you given? Perhaps you (attempt to) get more eloquent if you've in fact had some wine, because everyone knows we speak better after a few glasses.
I picked three sentences because that seems to be about the length of time that someone will actively listen to you after asking a question. I know of course that it varies from person to person, but we've all see someone's eyes start to glaze over or the wheels start turning in their head when we take too long to explain the mystical qualities of a good Barolo, something that we struggle (albeit nobly) to quantify for our simple questioner. Yea right! Viewed a different way, you have three chances to help someone understand why you love wine so much.
This is especially important because getting our friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone else to drink and enjoy wine is a rewarding experience. You are helping someone learn a new language, introducing them to a new world and broadening their horizons. Why give them the impression that you either don't know why you like wine or you like wine for reasons beyond their comprehension?
My point is that those of us with a wine background should continually strive to make wine more accessible. That isn't to say that it needs to be dumbed down, far from it. Wine's innate complexities will manifest to new enthusiasts, given enough time and tasting experience. This is so long as we who have been lucky enough to experience them haven't turned off those less experienced people who want to enjoy it and learn more, with our crummy/overwrought answers to their questions. It's a responsibility then, to choose our words carefully and be aware of who we're talking to. We should be happy they have taken an interest in our interest, yet aware of how intimidating wine can be. Historically wine has opened doors, been a great social lubricant. Let's keep it that way..
Or we can always just quote Sideways, right?