I have always loved wine. I grew up on wine. My Dad was a winemaker, practicing his craft every evening in the basement. The whole family had to taste the wine and give our opinion. Some people drive to Niagara on the Lake for a wine tasting tour. We got to enjoy tasting different wines in our own home.
Drinking wine in our family has always been about people gathering, lots of laughs and sharing stories. It’s something I’ve grown to enjoy when I’m celebrating, in a good mood or when I want a treat for a week of hard work.
Since the pandemic my relationship with wine has changed. Gathering with friends to enjoy a glass only happened a couple of times last summer and that was from a distance.
When the world first shut down I was like everyone else, lining up at the LCBO to stock up on wine because that’s how I was going to spend my time waiting out the virus. Some days I was pouring a glass at 3 o’clock on Monday because, who cares, I don’t have to be anywhere!
This new habit of wine drinking slowly went from feeling like extended Christmas holidays to having low energy, mild depression and crashing on the couch by 8:30 in the evening from exhaustion.
Wine was no longer joyful, wine became a crutch to get me through the pandemic.
In January I decided it was time to change my habits. In my typical all or nothing fashion I cut wine out completely. I did not touch a drop for six weeks.
Did I feel better? No, absolutely not.
I actually felt sad. I felt like I was giving up a piece of my heritage. What would my Dad say? He wouldn’t want me to give up on wine. He’d want me to explore them, try different ones. He’d want me to really get a taste for how each vintner created their next Riesling or Cabernet Sauvignon, he’d want me to taste a lovely Gewürztraminer and enjoy it with a nice slice of Gouda.
I had to think hard on this one. How was I going to embrace my heritage and still change my relationship with wine? Most importantly, how was I going to change the amount I had been consuming?
Before we get to that, I want to share a love/hate thing I have with Social Media posts about wine. I’m sure you’ve noticed all of the memes themed around escaping life’s problems with wine, directed especially at women. They sort of make me chuckle on one hand but I think they can also be quite negative, implying that we need to drink copious amounts of wine just to get through life. That’s simply not true.
I’m not going to deny it, I love how wine relaxes me but I really don’t want to “get through life” with it.
So, without sounding too preachy here’s what I’m doing now. By the way, I am in no way judging or telling anyone what to do. This is my own experience that I wanted to share.
Here are a couple of really great resources that helped me change my relationship with wine.
2) (“The Truth About Alcohol”) on Netflix
3) I just had to watch Julie & Julia again. The perfect movie for inspiration when it comes to food, wine and hanging out in France from your own couch.
After all of this self-reflection and figuring out how wine was going to work for me during the pandemic I came up with this.
Every Friday on my way home from work I pick up a nice bottle of wine. It has to be something different each week. I’ve only been drinking reds for now but white will be next when the days get a little warmer.
There are three glasses of wine in a bottle. I savour one on a Friday night, the next on Saturday and the final one on Sunday. I sip them, I enjoy the flavour and as a result I’ve even become a more experimental cook.
Throughout the week I abstain. I have found a delicious all natural energy drink that I enjoy and I drink a ton of water.
What’s happened since the transition?
My brain is awake, I problem solve way faster, I get excited about new projects, ideas are flowing in faster than ever, my confidence is greater and that bloated belly I was fighting with? She’s much happier now.
Whether its food, alcohol or even coffee, I think that expression, “everything in moderation” just means I need to stop and enjoy instead of mindlessly filling a hole to self-medicate.
We are all in this together. It really can’t be emphasized enough.
I go to counseling every two weeks, it saves my mental health and gives me so much relief. If you are struggling and don’t know where to turn, please reach out, I have resources where I can direct you and connect you with help. Thinking of you always and your well-being.