Saturday, March 30, 2013


Are you a religious wine drinker?  I would guess your answer would be, “NO!” – or am I wrong? However I think you are, more than you know.

Religious is a word, which doesn’t rime anything groovy when it comes to wine. Religious wine drinkers are just too much – out of reach and preaching constant meaningless mumbo-jumbo.

If you are an atheist you will most certainly not feel comfortable in a religious crowd of wine drinkers. Thing is with the religious – not only do they understand their own religion, but they are also far more narrow minded and will also look down upon those who just don’t “get it”. 

Religious wine drinkers are currently linked to the natural wine movement. Before that it was the biodynamic thing – the Rudolf Steiners disciples and it probably still is. The natural wine drinkers are here in the Danish press being portrayed as the “hooded”, which isn’t exactly positive.  As I do indeed drink a natural wine I find myself being defined as someone who was brought up with parents, who only made food over open fire, had frizzy hair and bad breath.

Natural wine drinkers praise wines, which are beyond flawed with vinegar profiles, smells of cow shit and have volatile acidity. Despite their enthusiasm we doubt their motives. They have to be under some kind of spell to praise such crap. They have to be disciples of some kind of movement. They have to be religious.


Could it be religious just happens to be the same as passionate? Because what does it mean to be religious?

If you Google it in Danish + Wikipedia (directly Googled translated from Danish to English) it comes up with this definition:

A religious experience is an experience that leaves a human experience religion immediately. The experience is not in itself dependent on either faith or thinking. Not more than eg. a color experience a musical experience or a humorous experience it. The question of faith comes first into the picture afterwards, when considering whether the experience was authentic or a hallucination.

A religious experience might be something big and dramatic as such. A miracle or a revelation, but the vast majority of religious experiences are quite undramatic, which may not even be "done" something. These experiences do not affect primarily through individual experience strength, but rather through their quantity. For many people, religious experiences something everyday that occurs many times each day  

So basically religious is a range of experiences you can’t explain. The only sort of proof you have, when it comes to wine, is the string of these occurrences is affecting your emotions. You will most certainly be curious to find out what specifically happened and see if you can bring that feeling forward again and again. What often happens in this process is the search for patterns and meaning – and sometimes also a conclusion. But not always do you find a conclusion. Some experiences are left open, surrounded by mystery and fascination.

Let’s take one step further.

In a weekly Danish radio show called “Spirit in the bottle” (link – it’s in Danish) the host, Poul Pilgaard Johnsen explains how he can’t exactly pin point what makes wine almost feel like a drug. Yet he has never taken drugs, but to him wine can bring him to a state of ecstasy and trance.

I feel the same way – and I don’t have any proof. I just know that the wine fix is highly addictive.

But in fact the evidence is right in front of us.

"The word flavour stands for the composite sense
of taste, smell and 'mouth feel' in the field of research,
which is about perception with the intake of food and drink (called
»The sensors'). Flavour is thus an expression of a
Integration of the three primary sensations and
takes place in the brain, "

"The processed information sends further smells into the
Limbic cortex in the part of the brain called the 'limbic
system '. The limbic system also contains also the
basic emotions (aggression, joy, etc.). For more than
one sense, scents and feelings therefore closely intertwined. "

(Source: Danish Chemistry No. 11,: Flavour - chemically (II))

I am not surprised that our impression of flavour is closely linked to our limbic system. Think about it. What was it that got you interested in wine and keep you coming back for more and more? It’s our senses and our emotions. Things we can’t always control, because they react spontaneously. These are the catalysts behind middle ages men like me, will describe a liquid with phrases like; mind blowing, emotional, seductive, sexy, weightless…etc.    

Wine appreciation is born religious – fostering the passion all wine lovers posses. It’s the unexplainable what eventually fascinates us – encapsulates and intoxicates our passion. The opposite is predictable reason and control. Seems like it, because it’s so much easier to communicate and handle – especially if you write for a consumer audience.

But who the hell care about reason and control in wine? Wine is bigger than an Excel sheet – otherwise I wouldn’t even bother to write these lines.

As I see it, we are desperately trying to remove the unexplainable (and potentially the religious) – aren’t we aware that our minds are constantly under influence? Is it science fiction that people can have fluctuating moods?   

My confession is that I am a religious wine drinker and so are you – or maybe you just forgot.