With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, liquor retailer’s and restaurateurs are likely expecting a surge in patronage as couples seek to inject a little romance into their relationship. Due to its associations with love and romance, one would imagine wines in particular are going to be a popular choice for lovers seeking to indulge. Throughout history wine has been offered as a gift to suggest romantic interest, and an essential part of wedding ceremonies. But where does this romantic association come from? What is it about wine that makes it a symbol of romance for so many?
For red wines at least, it may just be the color that ignites feelings of passion and love. In the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’, one of the world’s oldest known literary works, depictions of wine suggested a symbolic association with fertility. Wine is also conducive to sharing, with the standard bottle size being an almost perfect amount for two people to enjoy together. Pleasant meals, intimate moments with that someone special and a shared appreciation for a fine wine are likely to leave one with positive and romantic memories. Winemakers and viticulturists can be seen as having an almost romantic relationship with their vineyards too, given the passion they have for their work and the extent to which they nurture and care for their vines. A good winemaker needs to have their heart in it, just like a good lover.
Wine is also said to act as an aphrodisiac…Dr. Max Lake, author of ‘Scents and Sensuality’, claims that the aromas of some wines can strongly resemble the scents of human pheromones. An Italian study claimed that women who drink two glasses of wine a day have better sex than those that don’t drink at all. If you’re after that aphrodisiac quality, try pairing your wine with figs like the ancient Greeks did. They were considered sacred and strongly associated with love and fertility, just like wine.
But more than all of this, perhaps wine is seen as romantic because each and every bottle one comes across offers the chance to discover something new and exciting. It can be unknown and mysterious, but intriguing and inspiring. You may fall in love and never look back, or you may find it’s not for you and seek to move on. Discovering and enjoying wines is a love affair for many, and it’s safe to say a lot of wine will be enjoyed between lovers this Valentine’s Day and many more to come. In the words of wine writer Michael Broadbent: “Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures”. We’ll drink to that, happy Valentine’s Day!