Wine in Our CultureWine improves with age - I like it the older I get. - Anonymous
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Wine in Our Culture

References to wine are found throughout our culture - in TV shows, movies, books, plays and poetry.

Wine and culture seem to go hand in hand. Many books and movies feature wine as key plot elements or scene builders. Learn more about the wines in some classics and pour yourself a glass while you watch or read!

The ancient Greeks and Romans used wine as an offering to the gods. In Greek mythology, Dionysus was the god of wine, overseeing all matters pertaining to the cultivation of grapes and wine production. The Romans looked to Bacchus to oversee all wine matters.

In medieval times it was believed that if a newly married couple were to drink mead (honey wine) each evening for the duration of one moon following the wedding, they were assured a male heir within one year. And, if that did occur, lavish gifts and accolades were bestowed upon the mead maker (artisans that were highly revered at the time). In other words, the couple drank mead (honey wine) for one month (moon). This is also the original of the word honeymoon.

Wine in TV Shows

The Sopranos and Wine
Tony and his family love great Italian food and delicious Italian wine. Learn what they drink in the show, and get a few bottles for yourself!

Wine in Movies

An Affair to Remember and Pink Champagne
It's always fun when a particular type of wine is actually a theme in a movie! Clearly, the classic love story of An Affair to Remember is centered around Pink Champagne.

The Big Sleep and Brandy
The Big Sleep is not for wussy light wine drinkers. These men and women were hard, gritty, and drank lots of brandy and rye.

Bond, James Bond
James Bond was into wine from the very start. Trace the progression of wine through his movies.

Bond, James Bond and Champagne
The very first Bond film was Dr. No. And even back in his early, rough stages, Bond had a fondness for the '53 Dom Perignon Champagne.

Casablanca and Champagne
From the start of the story right through the end, wine and Champagne were key elements to the struggle against hopelessness that the trapped characters felt.

It's a Wonderful Life: Champagne & Mulled Wine
This holiday classic features not only Champagne during celebrations, but also some delicious mulled wine!

Kelly's Heroes
Donald Sutherland as Oddball, in "Kelly's Heroes":
"Hey Man, I'm drinking wine, eating cheese and catching some rays."

Days of Wine and Roses
Writer J. P. Miller vividly describes the slow destruction of a marriage by alcohol.

Wine in Books & Plays

References to wine are found throughout our culture - in TV shows, movies, books, plays and poetry.

Cask of Amontillado
The Poe Classic! "He had a weak point--this Fortunato--although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine."

The Citadel: Wine in the 1920s
Claret, Sherry, elderberry wine and brandy were all quite popular during the roaring 20s.

The Great Gatsby & Wine
Long Island Wineries didn't exist in the time of Gatsby, but the wealthy elite of that era were quite happy with the offerings of the French.

Hamlet and a Drunken Danish Court
Not only is the great court of Hamlet drunk every night on dry German white wine, but the final scene of the play involves Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, downing the poisoned pearl in a goblet of wine.

Henry V and St. Crispin's Day
October 25th is the day to celebrate the amazing English victory at Agincourt - with some Bordeaux, Italian white, and Madeira!

Much Ado About Marsala!
The Shakespeare romantic comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' is set in Messina, Sicily - home place of Marsala!

Romeo, Juliet & Soave: Wine of Poets and Lovers
This romantic white was either named by a poet who wrote of flames, or a literary shooting-star, Romeo.

Silence of the Lambs - with Amarone !
What did Hannibal Lechter enjoy with his fava beans? Certainly not the typical Chianti! Lechter was an Amarone kind of guy!

Spenser for Hire
Spenser for Hire is a long detective series by Robert B. Parker that also was turned into a TV show and movie or three. Spenser started out in the Chandler mold of a bourbon-drinking heavy, but soon he was into wine and Champagne as well.

The Three Musketeers & Anjou Wine
Almost as good as Champagne and Chambertin? What was this wine that Athos enjoyed so much?

Wine Poetry

John Milton - Sonnet 17

Lawrence of virtuous father virtuous son,

Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,

Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire

Help waste a sullen day; what may be won

From the hard season gaining: time will run

On smoother till Favonius reinspire

The frozen earth; and clothe in fresh attire

The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.

What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,

Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise

To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice

Warble immortal notes and tuskan air?

He who of those delights can judge, and spare

To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

Ernest Dowson- Cynara

Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine

There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed

Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;

And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,

Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.


All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,

Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;

Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;

But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,

When I awoke and found the dawn was gray:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.


I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,

Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,

Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;

But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,

Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.


I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,

But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,

Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;

And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,

Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.


Ode to Catawba Wine

References to wine are found throughout our culture - in TV shows, movies, books, plays and poetry.

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This song of mine

Is a song of the Vine

To be sung by the glowing embers

Of wayside inns,

When the rain begins

To darken the drear Novembers.


It is not a song

Of the Scuppernong,

From warm Carolinian valleys,

Nor the Isabel

And the Muscadel

That bask in our garden alleys.


Nor the red Mustang,

Whose clusters hang

O'er the waves of the Colorado,

And the fiery flood

Of whose purple blood

Has a dash of Spanish bravado.


For the richest and best

Is the wine of the West,*

That grows by the Beautiful River, **

Whose sweet perfume

Fills all the room

With a benison on the giver.


And as hollow trees

Are the haunts of bees,

Forever going and coming;

So this crystal hive

Is all alive

With a swarming and buzzing and humming.


References to wine are found throughout our culture - in TV shows, movies, books, plays and poetry.

Very good in its way

Is the Verzenay,

Or the Sillery soft and creamy;

But Catawba wine

has a taste more divine,

More dulcet, delicious and dreamy.


There grows no vine

By the haunted Rhine,

By Danube or Quadalquivir,

Nor on island or cape,

That bears such a grape

As grows by the Beautiful River.


Drugged is their juice

For foreign use,

When shipped o'er the reeling Atlantic,

To rack our brains

With the fever pains,

That have driven the Old World Frantic.

Wine in Our Culture


To the sewers and sinks

With all such drinks,

And after them tumble the mixer,

For a poison malign

Is such Borgia wine,

Or at best but a Devil's elixir.


While pure as a spring

Is the wine I sing,

And to praise it, one needs but name it;

For Catawba wine

Has need of no sign,

No tavern-bush to proclaim it.


And this Song of the Vine,

This greeting of mine,

The winds and the birds shall deliver

To the Queen of the West,

In her garlands dressed,

On the banks of the Beautiful River.


*At the time this poem was written, Ohio was "the West."

**The word "Ohio" means "Beautiful River" in the language of the Indians who lived along it.


W.B. Yeats - A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That's all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.


Two Glasses of Wine and a Mayonnaise Jar

A philosophy professor had a lesson for his class one day. He brought in a large, empty mayonnaise jar. Setting it on a table at the front of the class, he proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

"Class," he said, "Is the jar full?"

"Yes," his students answered.

Then the professor took some pebbles, poured them into the jar of golf balls and shook it until the pebbled filled in the spaces. "Now is the jar full?" he asked the class.

"Yes," they replied.

Next the professor took some sand and poured it into the jar. It filled in all around the golf balls and pebbles. Again, he asked, "Is it full, now?"

"Yes," was the answer.

Finally, the professor took two glasses of wine from under the table and poured them into the jar, filling in all the air space which was left.

"Now it's full," he said. He went on to explain that the jar illustrated their life. "The golf balls are the important things like your family, children, friends, health, life interests. Things that make life worth living. If everything else were taken away and only those things remained, your life would still be full."

"The pebbles represent other necessary things like your job, car, house, etc. And the sand is everything else. Note that if you fill the jar with sand or pebbles first, there would be no room for the golf balls. The same is true for your life. If you use all your time and money on the unimportant or necessary things first, there will be no room for the important things."

"So take time for the important things. Go to dinner or a long walk with your spouse. Play with your children. Take care of your health. Play golf with your friends. Take one more run down the ski slope. Keep your priorities straight. The rest is just sand."

"Professor," asked one of the students, "what does the wine represent?"

"I'm glad you asked," he said. "As you can see, no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a glass of wine with a friend."

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