What is it about our culture over the last decade that has us gripped so tightly onto wine connoisseurship? Is it a passing trend, (I hope not), or is wine simply in the midst of experiencing its long-overdue moment in the sun? After all, as I'm sure the French can attest, Pinot Noir is as much a part of their vocabulary as any other dietary staple. And in Tuscany, a meal isn't a meal without a carafe, (or two), of Chianti. It feels as if over the last decade our country has finally been exposed to the love of wine. With the release of Sideways in 2004, Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church brought to our attention the delights of a trip through our own wine country. And for those who had not previously been exposed to wine culture in America, the viewer realized that wine is daily life for portions of Northern California. With all of the new publications, iPhone applications and coffee table books dedicated to wine, we can all call ourselves "experts" of some sort.
This month's issue of Food and Wine aptly points out that wine has begun to saturate many aspects of our culture, from art and film, to design and beauty products, in Purple Reign: The Art of Wine. Upon reading it, Spill, a film about the artist Dennis Adams on an unusual trip through Bordeaux, promptly went straight to the top of my Netflix queue.
Is it any wonder then that wine should be the feature of a new exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art? I am lucky to have two friends who are tying the knot in Napa Valley come this October, and will be making the trek out west. (More on that to follow.) Unfortunately, this exhibit does not open until November 20 so I might have to find another excuse to get out there... But I find it very exciting that the purple tones of wine are being explored through new venues. If you have the chance, Peter Wegner's wine-hued mural, In [ ] Veritas, certainly sounds worth the trip. I for one, am delighted that so much attention is being given to this subject, and especially to our own stateside vineyards who certainly deserve it.