{TAB}It's a simple question, really, as the best questions always tend to be. I am intensely curious as to your reasons, my fellow wine friends. Was it a single moment? A special bottle? Were you in a foreign land soaking in the romance of your circumstance or were you weaned on the fruit of the vine from an early age? Did you grow up watching loved ones at the dinner table with your vision obscured by wine bottles or did you embark on this wondrous journey on your own, one bottle at a time?

{TAB}What first attracted me to wine, dear friends, was the romance. There is an intrinsic beauty to wine. If you don't believe me, I encourage you to visit a vineyard. Any vineyard will do. Of course, there are some vineyards abroad that will quite literally take your breath away with their vistas and sheer improbable locales, but you don't have to travel nearly as far as the Priorat region in Spain, where the vineyards are mainly harvested by hand simply because the terrain is so steep and so extreme there doesn't yet exist machinery that is up to the challenge, to have your mind blown. You can take a day trip to Michigan or Southern Illinois and still be amazed by the beauty of these more modest vineyards. It stirs the soul to gaze at the rows of vines and imagine the end product in bottle. Romance, guaranteed.

{TAB}There is also an inherent tragedy in wine, and let's be honest, there can be no romance without tragedy. I speak, of course, of wine's organic nature. You see, wine is alive, and as all living things, it too shall pass. Wine lives, folks. It can (and in some cases, must) be nurtured and protected. It evolves, changes and matures. Eventually, it too dies and therein lies the tragedy. Every vintage, wine makers and farmers the world over harvest their grapes and proceed with the magic that is wine making. Every vintage offers its own unique experience both in the vineyard and in the bottle. Mother Nature, ever fickle, has her way and each bottle becomes a time capsule, an agricultural slow motion button, so to speak. Once all the wine from said vintage is consumed or aged beyond its ability to be enjoyed, that is the end. That finality, that finite nature of wine, its inherent mortality is what makes it so precious and thusly, so romantic. You see, as we love wine, we are doomed. That is, much like a Cubs fan, until next year. 

{TAB}I do so love the intellectual aspect to wine, as well. It provides one with a lifetime of research opportunities and travel destinations. I have recently read an article which states that in order to truly understand a wine, one must visit the place the wine is from. This is an argument I can and will defend. Now, don't anyone get all upset with me. I said  to truly understand a wine. We are perfectly capable of appreciating wine from the comfort of our own homes and restaurants. I do it quite frequently. My girlfriend and I are both fanatical about Champagne without ever having been there. There are many aspects to Champagne that I am perfectly capable of appreciating from home, such as: its variety, its quality, its consistently surprising pairing ability (try it with a quality baked ham sandwich and you will see what I mean) and the satisfaction it provides when enjoyed on its own or as an aperitif. However, that appreciation can only turn to true understanding if I can actually tread upon the ground shared with the vines. There is a geological culture, terroir being a part of it, that must be experienced to fully comprehend what is in the bottle. However, until that day, I suppose Champagne Sundays will have to suffice. Alas, life can be difficult in that way, but I do my best to soldier on.  

{TAB}Then, of course, there is the final point: the finished product. There is no elixir quite so sublime as wine. Believe me on this one, I've spent much of my youth researching this thesis. The sheer variety allows for a wine for all occasions. I have yet to encounter a scenario or dish that I could not pair a wine to with some success. Go ahead, test me. . . Anyway, it is difficult to argue with the beauty of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the charm of a cru Beaujolais, the subtlety of Burgundy, the depth of Napa Cabernet, the nervy deliciousness of German Riesling and the list goes on. . . {TAB}

{TAB}So, there it is. My answer to the Why Wine? question. Although, it seems like the question shouldn't be Why Wine? as much as it should be Why Not Wine?. This development doesn't surprise me as I was a Philosophy major and learned that with most truly philosophical pursuits, one usually tends to not find answers, simply different questions. 

{TAB}So, I open the floor to you, fellow oenophiles. As this is my first blog entry, I am, as I have stated many paragraphs ago, intensely curious. What is it, precisely, about wine that you love most? I ask all of you, connoisseur and casual drinker alike. Wine professionals and weekend warriors alike. . .why wine?