It was my first visit to the winery, and my first ‘formal’ wine-tasting experience.
“There are four S’s to wine drinking,” the winery tour guide pompously told my friends and me.
“Seeing, Swirling, Smelling and Sipping,” he continued with an air of authority.
He demonstrated, “First, pick up the glass of wine. Then see the wine, Swirl the wine, Smell the wine, and then Sip the wine.”
I watched amusedly.
Then, it was my turn.
I held the stem of the glass in which the ruby red liquid was poured. I looked into the glass and inhaled deeply.
“No!” Mr Guide shouted. “Swirl first,” he said.
“Oh, sorry,” I said unapologetically.
“Let’s start again,” he said through a forced smile.
I was on a vacation in the hills and this winery visit was nothing more than a pit stop for me. I am a person who carries a poetess, a writer, a romantic, and a dreamer in her heart. The mountains, mists, and Mohabbat make up the purpose of my life. And all these thrive in an unstructured ecosystem.
Not some prescribed protocol for drinking wine.
Just to be polite, I picked up my glass again. The ruby red liquid winked at me. I swirled the wine, closed my eyes. Imagining myself sitting by the river bank overlooking verdant mountains, I took the glass to my parched lips.
“No! No!” the guide’s voice rudely burst my bubble of bliss.
“You didn’t see it, you didn’t smell it…”
“PODA!” I said, in my loudest Tamil. “This is wine. Red wine. Drink. Feel. Repeat,” I said, taking a swig. And, I practised exactly what I preached.
Drink. Feel. Repeat.
Wine ho ya dine, hum toh aise hai bhaiyya!