Friday, November 03, 2006

Sliding Doors

Im frequently asked by people what I drink at home. A lot of them seem surprised when I reply that I generally dont drink at home. In fact I drink very little. There are a number of reasons for this.

1) I spend most of the week immersed (not literally) in wine. I spend hours reading about wines, I nose about a dozen or more wines a day, I sample upto a dozen on some days. If I go to a big trade tasting (a sadly infrequent event for me) then I can be tasting upto a hundred or more wines in a day. I get home quite late at night, often after 1am, later at the weekends. The last thing that I want to drink is wine. Ive had enough of it during the day.

2) I spend all day surrounded by booze. Usually when that happens one of two things will happen. You become an alcoholic or a tee-totaller. I opted to go for the latter, after seeing way too many friends and colleagues travel down the wrong route. One of my colleagues from Gleneagles got sacked three months ago for stealing booze from the hotel. He had a drink problem. It cost him his livelihood, his dignity and most of his friends. I have the occassional beer with a meal, but the truth is that I can happily live without alcohol.

3) Good wine is an expensive habit. Once you've tasted great wines it is so much harder to drink mediocre wines. As Len Evans believed, you owe it to yourself to drink the best possible wines that you can afford. Alas, the hospitality industry isnt known for generous salaries. Factoring in the hours that I work, I usually end up falling a bit shy of the minimum wage. So its probably a good thing that I dont drink, because I couldnt really afford to if I wanted to.

Maybe I should lie and tell them that I drink exotic wines and first growth clarets. But then again Im a terrible liar, so its better to stick with the truth. But just because I dont really drink, doesnt mean to say that I cant appreciate a good wine.

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