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Wine Tasting: It's Not Just for Trader Giotto Anymore

My husband and I went to a wine tasting the other night.

As someone more at home with a bottle of beer, I always feel terribly grown up when I go to a wine tasting (which, by the way, I do quite rarely, despite having gone to one in Helsinki last week).

This time, we were invited by someone I barely knew, so I really feared the worst. In fact, we almost didn’t go at all.

Part of our reluctance stemmed from what happened the last time we went to a wine tasting with people we didn’t know. It was about eight years ago, right after we’d moved into a new neighborhood. I’d joined a local women’s group, thinking it would be a fast way to make friends. And so, when I saw that someone in the group was hosting a wine tasting, I thought:  Why not? My husband likes wine and maybe we’ll meet some like-minded souls.

Huge mistake.

If you’ve never been to a wine-tasting, it works like this: You’re given a bunch of different wines to sample “blind,”  and then, at some point in the evening, the names/origins/grapes etc are revealed. There may even be a contest.

But at this particular gathering eight years ago, it didn’t work that way. Instead, just as it seemed like the “moment of truth” had arrived, the hostess – now thoroughly sloshed herself – stood up and announced that we’d all be playing a little game called “Guess the Price.” She then began brandishing the different bottles of wine and instructed people to shout out their guesses as to how LITTLE the wine had cost (e.g., $9.99, $7.99, four bucks from Trader Giotto’s, etc.).

Yes, it was that bad. My husband and I locked eyes and fled the scene, scarred for life by our near-brush with suburban sophistication. (For the record: I have no issue with cheap wine and purchase it all the time. It’s just not something one usually associates with a wine tasting…)

But another reason we almost took a pass this weekend was that we didn’t know anyone else who was going, and so we thought:  Why bother?

As you get older, there’s a tendency to hunker down and say, hey, we’ve got enough friends as it is…we know our “type”…why take a chance on someone new? Let’s just go see a movie and call it a night.

But I feel like it’s important, every once in awhile, just to give it a go and try something new. Because there are always new and interesting people to meet out there. Plus, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and do something – like wine tasting – that you’ve sworn off (even if for good reason!)

And guess what? We had a great time. It was a beautiful flat, there was plenty of interesting conversation and they served great wine. Plus, this handsome Italian guy named Marco was pouring all evening. What’s not to like?


A new website on AOL called Politics Daily launched today. Looks like a great line up of writers!

Image: Wine Glasses by Slack12 via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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Hooray for Sugar! Hershey, Here I Come!

I was delighted to hear that candy is back in fashion. No one’s sure exactly why. It could be the recession (candy is cheap), it could be the purported links between corn syrup and obesity, or it could just be nostalgia for the days of yore when things were hunky dorey. Whatever the cause, I don’t think I’ve been this excited since butter made a comeback.

I love candy. I don’t actually eat all that much of it because…well, because you’re not supposed to. But I think what I liked about these two articles is that the kinds of candy that are rising in popularity aren’t super fancy, high-end candies or…heaven forbid…dark chocolates. My husband – a self-proclaimed health nut – loves dark chocolate. Especially this brand. And while I, too, have a certain fondness for dark chocolate, it just doesn’t provide the same sort of all-encompassing happiness that biting into a Hershey’s bar does. Is anyone with me?

In another life I would return as an 11 year-old boy:  I also love pop tarts and frozen pizzas and ring dings. I do.

But one of the fun things that you get to do as an adult is to break all the rules that you learned as a kid. Like: Eating candy is bad for you. (You also learn to care a whole lot about what other people think. So when, like, The New York Times tells you it’s OK to eat candy, you just feel really happy that you’ve finally been validated.)

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