I have had a lot of wine with friends. Drinking copious amounts of wine—with a focus, primarily on tasting and exposing my palate to new varietals or producers that I have yet to try. Generally, a glass will do, unless the wine is of exceptional quality—that will entail another pour.

I rarely, if ever, drink wine by myself; save for cooking, although the urge has set upon me before, especially after picking up a bottle of highly prized grape juice (say a Bordeaux from 2000). However, the yearning is always squelched—the desire to drink that special bottle is less appealing if I drink it by myself. To me, the bottle will be defined by the experience: dinner with a girlfriend, parents or friends to mark an occasion, or celebrating a new addition to the family. This is not to say the wine will not be extraordinary if say, my girlfriend dumps me at the table but it might be enhanced if we are celebrating a milestone in our relationship and the feelings of sheer joy are charging the electron particles around us.

I look at each bottle as an occasion, one that is made much better by tasting it with others (as I have been doing lately). While I taste, I am trying to sharpen my palate and my olfactory—learning to detect the subtleties within my Schott Zwiesel glassware and engage the other people to see what they detect. Through a communal tasting a lot can be learned and the experience becomes interactive and stimulating. If you prefer another style of drinking like locking yourself in the cellar and cuddling up with your favorite vintage of Screaming Eagle then be my guest, but for me it might be more fun to share that bottle with a friend or two. I am not advocating my style of tasting/drinking, just telling you where I stand on the wine consumption spectrum.

“Hello, my name is Alexander and I am a social sipper.”