A Tired Older Woman Solves Her Wine Problem

A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off!

Also available for Nook!

It’s late Saturday afternoon, and I’m in a panic.  Friends have invited twelve of us to a lo-cal dinner buffet tonight at their house, so I can share more about my book, A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off!  In an effort to express my gratitude for their unsolicited gesture, I asked if I could bring something.

“Sure.”  My hostess had sounded relieved.  “Bring a bottle of wine, please.”

Two weeks later, I’m still in a quandary.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I drink wine.  I even like some of it.  It’s the buying part that stumps me.

In order for you to understand my predicament, we’ll have to go back to when I was born a long time ago into a family that was practically teetotal.

This state of affairs wasn’t the result of any particular religious convictions.  On the contrary, it was more the result of my mother having grown up in the presence of an uncle by marriage, who was often known to be drunk.

My great-uncle’s escapades were quite legendary, although they were always discussed in hushed undertones or whispered about in a far corner.  Cautionary tales, they always ended with the warning, “Be careful, or you’ll end up like Uncle Harry.”

The elephant in the room, they permeated our lives from afar, his having been dead for a number of years – probably from an advanced case of cirrhosis of the liver.

Things might have changed dramatically as time passed and memories of Great-Uncle Harry slowly dimmed except for one thing.  My father accepted a position as a research chemist in East Tennessee.

Not seeing the connection?  Well, that’s easily explained.  You see, my father’s new job had forced him to replant our young family smack dab in a formation of counties that had all voted themselves “dry.”

Rumor had it at the time that this was the result of two major campaigns against the sale of legalized liquor – one carried out by the Southern Baptists and the other presented by the area’s highly successful, well organized moonshiners.  Think of it like a reversed Hatfields vs the McCoys.

Despite this restricted state of affairs, our home did occasionally contain a few drops of wine – truly memorable events.

For instance, when my youngest sister was born, the next door neighbors brought over dinner, complete with a small decanter of their own homemade wine that received mixed reviews from my parents – one for and one against.

Each Christmas, my paternal grandmother did her best to provide appropriate alcoholic references as befitted her English background, arriving with a tin filled with plum pudding soaked in brandy and a suitcase that contained a bottle of Mogen David Blackberry wine.  The latter she would plunk down in a suitcase on the train station platform upon arrival and caution my father in a voice that probably reached San Francisco, “Be careful! The spirits are in there.”

What kind of spirits resided within was never defined, for which we were all most grateful.

In the late sixties our world changed, when Knoxville decided to make a run for All-American City.  This required the construction of a convention center complete with a flowing bar, and the voting tide swayed.  Soon liquor stores could be found on most corners, although they were still closed on Sundays.

Our Christmas Mogen David was now followed by a rather lackluster New Year’s Eve champagne – definitely not something to inspire one, and over the years, our family grew quite adventurous, going so far as to serve wine at rehearsal dinners before weddings.

In spite of these baby steps forward, I reached my adult years with no “nose.”  I further stinted my development by marrying a man, whose family’s tastes had run more towards beer.

When offered a glass of wine at a party, I would take it.  Some I liked.  Some I didn’t.  Some, in my middle years, gave me hot flashes and turned my cheeks a bright cherry red, so I gave up wearing blush when I attended a party.

In the ‘90s, news of various vintages surrounded us everywhere as American-made wines took prize after prize away from the traditional European vineyards.  Wine racks became nifty Christmas gifts, and wine glasses were often suspended beneath overhead kitchen cabinets.  Even mid-range restaurants now boasted a sommelier.

In this rarefied environment, I read books on wine, scanned magazine articles and followed a radio show that gave daily tips on the stocking of a proper wine cellar.  At the end of the decade, I had accumulated a long list of vintages in my purse that I would pull out full of hope whenever I dined in a restaurant.  In three years, I never found a single one of these phenomenal wines listed on a menu, and so I remained clueless.

Those of you who have read A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! know that, over the years, I had developed quite a love affair with food, even as an understanding of wine still eluded me.  I loved chocolate and lobster and chocolate and pasta and chocolate and pizza and a broad range of ethnic foods.

So now I stood in the wine section of my local gourmet store – the sales clerk nowhere to be found – alone and afraid that I was about to embarrass myself by making the wrong purchase.

And then I saw the answer to my prayers, clearly stated on the descriptive card for the Toscana Merlot right in front of me.  Unlike the other wines offered for sale that all seemed to have undertones of leather or wood or some kind of fruit, this liquor of the gods was advertised as having fine undertones of chocolate!

Immediately, I comprehended that there was no way I could go wrong with such an outstanding vintage because, as everyone knows, chocolate always makes everything better.

Relieved of my worries, I wasted no time, but drew a bottle from the rack and cradled it in my arm, as I strode confidently to the register where I bought it.

Problem solved!

Annie Acorn

Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn

Also available in print, at Amazon UK and Smashwords, and for SonyReader, Kobo, Diesel, ibookstore and NOOK!

Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn

Also available for NOOK!

When to Remain Silent

On the Road

The Magic Sand Dollar

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21 Responses to A Tired Older Woman Solves Her Wine Problem

  1. I know nothing about wine. I don’t like it and therefore I don’t drink it. So I share your predicament when it comes to buying wine. Bizarrely, I somehow seem to be excellent at doing this. Just don’t tell anyone I’ve bought wine for – it was a complete fluke!

    I always have been and continue to be puzzled by dry counties.

  2. Bobbie says:

    Loved it! Yup I remember!

  3. Nancy Lauzon says:

    Fun post, Annie! Buying wine can be a dilemma even for people who drink wine. There are just too many different kinds out there. I usually buy on the recommendation of friends or the very nice staff at my local liquor store!

    Nancy Lauzon
    Nancy Lauzon recently posted..Pros and Cons of Being CheapMy Profile

  4. Krystal Wade says:

    I know nothing about wine either. My family didn’t drink at all. I don’t drink OFTEN now. I may have a few margaritas a year. 😉 Not wine though. YUCK.
    Krystal Wade recently posted..Six Sentence SundayMy Profile

    • Annie says:

      Krystal – So far everyone who has commented is in the same boat as me. It makes me wonder how the wine companies stay in business with of us unappreciative folks out there. Annie

  5. Diane Hughes says:

    I, too, grew up in a dry county — in Middle Tennessee. And I’m usually winging it myself when it comes to wine purchases. 🙂 Thanks for a fun read.

  6. Hi Annie, Great post I identify! 🙂

    • Annie says:

      Coleen, I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. So far it appears from the comments coming in that most of us are clueless when it comes to picking out a wine. Annie

  7. What a fun read! I have no idea how to buy wine, either, especially since the wine of choice when I was growing up was Boone’s Farm 🙂 I do like a good Zin, though. I’m going to have to try that chocolate wine. That sounds interesting. But for now, thanks for giving me something entertaining to read while I’m drinking my first gallon of morning coffee.
    Donna Anderson recently posted..Matt Cutts Says Google Wants You To Start Using REL=AUTHORMy Profile

    • Annie says:

      Donna – According to the comments I’ve received, none of us really know how to select a wine for pretty much the same reasons. I’m beginning to think that Wine 101 should be added to the standard college curriculum. 🙂 Annie

  8. LOL — My wine-buying criteria is fairly simple. It has to be affordable, and it has to be French or Italian. Others are good, but generally upset my stomach after 1 glass, so not worth the effort.

    Rum, now, is much easier for me to sort out…. ;-D

    • Annie says:

      Donna – I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. I had never thought of rum as an alternative, but if I took a mixer, too, it might work. 🙂 Annie

  9. I grew up in a family that abstained for alchohol a well. Until I was twenty-two, I was terrified of the stuff. Only now will I have a small glass of wine with a fancy dinner or while sitting in front of the fireplace with my husband. Well, when I’m not pregnant, of course. As I am now. 🙂

    • Annie says:

      Jolina – Congratulations! Having a baby is such a blessing. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It seems to have resonated with many of its readers. Annie

  10. Hi Annie,
    I love your post. I’m originally from Switzerland and live now in California. I enjoy an occasional glass of wine but I am NO expert. I think though I would have picked the same Merlot you did, if I had seen it. I mean what could be better than a combination of grapes and chocolate! Ususally, I stick to Merlot (one of the few I know).

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