Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Grape Juice for Grown-Ups

One of the hazards of growing older is that you can't really handle the party lifestyle like you used to. In my early twenties, at particularly big drinking events (the New Year when Y2K had us all fearing for life as we know it stands out in my mind as a shining example), I could drink myself silly, throw up, and come back for more. I spent that New Year in Ocean City, MD, with my then-boyfriend, his brother, and his brother's best friend. We had just discovered the wonder that is Mike's Hard Lemonade. We played Quarters and other drinking games all night, and I was a CHAMP!

Now, if I drink too much beer, I end up staying in bed the entire next day, snacking on whatever dry food Bill has at his house (usually something like white bread or water crackers) and willing it to stay down. I also stay in bed as long as it takes to make sure that I won't end up dry heaving in the bathroom. Man, aren't you glad to be reading this post?

Anyhoo, times like this are now few and far between. First of all, I am growing past that age where weekends include drunk fests. Secondly, I either work or have clinical almost every weekend, and it's hard to find someone to go out with me in the middle of the week. And now that I am a lightweight, it takes far less alcohol to make me feel it, and usually it is pretty much out of my system the next morning. It's a good place to be.

However, as my tastes have changed and I have gotten older, I have discovered the wonder that is known as wine. Now, don't get me wrong. I have been a wine drinker for a while (yet, not a wino...I don't drink it that much), but I was not so adventurous. Give me a nice White Zinfandel or Pinot Grigio...but hold the stuff I have never heard of.

Recently, lighter, sweeter wines have been showing up all over the place. It started when it got easier and easier to get a glass of Riesling with my dinner when I was out. It continued when I was waiting for a table at a local restaurant and popped into the wine store next door and decided to do a little tasting.

Pennsylvania has a lot of local wineries. Some that pop into my head are Franklin Hills, Clover Hill, and Cherry Valley. The store that I entered that fateful night was the Franklin Hills store, and I sampled a lovely Niagara and a Sangria-like wine called Fiesta. And I was hooked.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I am standing in the Wine and Spirits Shoppe (the only real place to buy wine and spirits in PA), and as the harps played and the angels appeared to me, I came across the PA and NY Wine aisle. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I don't have to travel out of my way to visit a local winery anymore because I can find this stuff in the same shopping center as Wal-Mart. Life is good.

What I like about wine is that I can drink it out of a pretty glass while sitting around with friends and enjoying a lovely spring night. I can serve it at dinner with candles on the table and make it a special night. And I can, as I have in the past, also drink it to excess during a tail gate and feel really bad the next morning.

However, now that I am Approaching Thirty, it seems like a good time to leave beer behind and get to know the PA and NY Wine. After all, I live right here in a place that is surrounded by wineries. And if they are making grape juice from grown-ups, then I really owe it to them to give it a try. Yes, I am the great rationalizer. But give something new a might find something that you didn't even know you were looking for.


NME said...

I love wine. Mark and I drink a glass or two regularly. I have hopes of one day becoming a little more educated in making wine choices - rather than just looking for a decent $10 bottle of red.

Kat said...

I LOVE wine. It's my drink of choice for non drunk fest planned nights. Otherwise I'm still liquor girl.

Wine + board games + little crackery snacks = FUN!

PreppyGirl said...

I live in grape country here too and some of our local wines are awesome. Wine, cheese & crackers is my favorite guilty pleasure dinner. Yum!

gunngirl said...

I never liked beer, I'll go with the wine, but I don't really like wine either. I love mixed drinks though. Pretty much any kind will do.

Wordnerd said...

I'd rather be reading your blog about being hungover than being hungover, if that makes sense...

By the way, I was just catching up on your blog so I'm going to put in my $.02 on the registry thing -- register the china, crystal, & silver, because it's something you probably won't go out and buy for yourselves later. The rest is up to you. But remember - the more items you register, the less the chance you end up with 6 cheeseboards.