I have to admit that I and all those in our industry have been intolerant and
unthinking of those who do not like wine. How many times have I given a tasting
and been told that the white wine was too sour or the red wine too
I normally react with “If you drink it with food, it will seem
I often explain that a child does not like coffee that is bitter
but can learn to like it, which is why grown-ups drink coffee and children
don’t. So an appreciation for wine can be learnt, and a taste can be
I have now read the most instructive wine book that explains
how wrong I have been. It is titled Why You Like the Wines You Like
written by Tim Hanni MW, one of America’s first two masters of wine. His
research puts me and the wine trade as a whole in the dock. Hanni
categorizes people into four vinotypes. There are two that are relevant to this
The first is sweet. These are people who are ultra-sensitive and
need sweetness to overcome tastes of alcohol, astringency or bitterness. This is
the sort of person that drinks weak coffee with sugar. It is not inferiority or
a lack of sophistication, it is just the way the person is built.
that I think about it, what’s wrong with drinking sweet? Could this be one of
the reasons that kiddush wine is still sweet and natural grape juice is so
popular? In the book, it says that wine has been made for 8,000 years, and for
all but the last 50, most wine has been sweet! So what is the problem? Certainly
in the 19th century and early 20th century, what they called Hock (slang for
German wine) was more expensive and fashionable than Bordeaux. In those days,
they used to accompany the finest of meals with Hock and Sauternes! My
distinguished forebear, Sir Moses Montefiore, drank port with
Fortunately for the sweet vinotype, cometh the hour, cometh
the perfect wine. The first wines of the new vintage each year are the Moscato
wines. In America, they are proving so popular that they are calling it Moscato
These wines are light, aromatic, grapey, frothy, semi-sweet to
sweet and low in alcohol. They are “any time, any place” family wines, suitable
for breakfast, brunch, barbecues, picnics or Friday nights.
Moscatos produced under the labels of Dalton, Golan, Teperberg, Carmel Selected
and Young Selected. There is also a red version called Young Selected Carignano.
I guarantee the great-aunt in your family who hates wine will like
If today some people choose to have ketchup or Coca-Cola with
their meal, it stands to reason they may prefer a sweetish wine with their
They should not worry about the so-called experts, and we should
not turn up our noses at the idea. Anyhow, Moscato and Lambrusco are wines that
make me smile and remind me that wine should be fun and not taken too
The next category of vinotype is Hyper-sensitive. This
represents the person who wants light fruity wines that are not extreme in taste
in any way. They want fruit and flavor without too much tannin, astringency or
Fruity reds, dry to off dry or semi-dry whites, roses
and sparkling wines.
Prosecco, Israeli-style Gewurztraminer and unoaked
reds are what this vinotype prefers, and who am I to say they are wrong and do
not understand? In fact, it is often the wine-knowledgeable person who does not
understand. Taste is personal, and everyone is his own expert.
the wine trade is virtually immune to the person who does not feel comfortable
with wine. We sell wine in heavy glass bottles, where you have to buy six
glasses’ worth. We stopper the wine with a bit of tree bark, which needs an
opener and the skill to use it. And when our intrepid consumer looks on the back
label for help, he is confronted by wine-speak, usually with a basket of fruits
If he or she finds the opener and manages to use it, the final
expectation is that the household will have wine glasses.
prefer tea in a china cup and wine in a good glass can be particular. But most
people drink tea in a mug, and the reality is that not everyone has wine
glasses. It really does not matter. Just open the bottle of wine and drink it.
Any glass will do.
I recently had a glass of wine in a tumbler (like a
low water glass) and found it very releasing.
It removed the need to
taste and swirl and pontificate.
After all, wine is just fermented
grapes, a stopping point between grape juice and wine vinegar. I love the idea
that sometimes the important thing is the drink and not the taste or
There is something about core European authenticity in
drinking wine from a tumbler.
It reminds me of villages in France, where
old weathered men sit on benches outside cafes watching the world go by, with a
tumbler of wine before them.
The wine will be simple, rough red wines
that have a refreshing bite (rather like cranberry and pomegranate juice). To
paraphrase Hugh Johnson, it is almost like rubbing down with a rough towel. This
is the bare essence of wine and far removed from the elevated world of
pontification, self-importance and opinion.
Of course, I am not saying
that a quality restaurant, a formal dinner party and/or a bottle of Chateau
Lafite Rothschild does not merit a serious wine glass.
eating spaghetti Bolognese on a red-and-white checkered tablecloth, it seems to
me totally appropriate to drink wine from a tumbler.
One of my favorite
drinks is the wine spritzer. This a word derived from the German. In Israel, the
spritzer recalls a time in the wine dark ages. It was popular with the Yekkes
and Romanians who came to Israel pre-state.
They used to buy Carmel Hock,
pour it into a tall glass and add soda water. Regrettably, today’s wine
intelligentsia look down on them, seeing it as representing an age when wine was
This was what the grandparents drank. Of course, now in Israel,
“we understand wine.”
However, think again. What a refreshing drink it
is! It is both perfect for the hot summer and good for those on a diet. It is
also ideal for those on a budget, as a bottle goes a long way if drunk in this
I say we should be more humble and more open to the simple enjoyment
of wine. In northeastern Italy, you will see young people quaffing spritzers in
the trendy cafes. There, it is the height of chic.
A red wine spritzer
also sounds a little old fashioned.
However, go to Spain and call it
Tinto de Varano, and suddenly it becomes the in thing. A tumbler with red wine
and soda with a slice of lemon looks divine and tastes very refreshing. I
So why not ignore the naysayers here and bring the spritzer
back? You can certainly serve one if I am coming to visit.
So be more
tolerant the next time you hear someone say, “I hate wine.” There must be a few
like this at every family gathering.
Furthermore, if someone pulls a face
when tasting your favorite wine, don’t grimace and feel superior. Thank your
lucky stars that wine is broad enough to satisfy everyone.
alternatives. Not everyone is programmed to like the wines we do, and it is
wrong for us in the wine trade to try to shoehorn everyone into what we smugly
call quality wines. Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes
about wine in Israeli and international