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"Wine or Whine-Maker?"

Updated on January 7, 2014

Yesterday, we celebrated Melissa's birthday. I invited her family and friends over for dinner and to celebrate with us. It was a lot of fun. One of gifts that I particularly liked that she received was a chalice. On the outside of the cup is the inscription, "Science says that wine is actually GOOD for you." On the inside are the words, "I love you science!"

I do love science, almost as much as I love wine. Certainly there is a science behind wine. In fact, the science behind wine and wine-making is referred to as oenology. And there is a not only a chemistry involved in wine-making, but also an art, passion and love for it. I have been making some wine lately and it has been a lot of trial and error, but it has been a great learning experience and, what's more, I get to drink it!

Not only does wine taste great, but there are also some health benefits to drinking wine. Now this may sound a bit defensive for someone who loves wine as much as I do, but I will be the first to tell you that these benefits are for moderate wine consumption, not the amount we consumed at the party the other night. But we had fun! Not only was the wine intoxicating, but so was the fellowship. It was a perfect evening. I believe Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, "Wine is proof that God loves us and loves for us to be happy."

In the Apocryphal book, Sirach, the writer offers this interpretation to wine, "...wine gives life to those who drink modestly. What would life be without wine? Wasn't it made to gladden the heart? Wine brings laughter and cheerful disposition to those who know when to drink and when to stop. But too much wine has been the cause of bitterness of spirit, quarrels and stumbling" (Sirach 31:27-29).

Perhaps, you are are familiar with that infamous Latin phrase,In Vino Verites, which means "In wine [there is] truth!" But what truth is there in wine? Sure, the more we drink the more likely we are to speak our minds or feelings, as hurtful as they may be. But is there truth in wine? Wine has often served as a metaphor for centuries to refer to things from covenant-relationships to love to blood to life to prosperity. Why is this?

Maybe it is because wine has been a part of every age and culture. It requires hard work, patience and commitment. It is enjoyable and beneficial. You can't dilute the amount of effort it takes in producing wine, to do so would only ruin it.

I remember hearing the story of a king who was planning to make a visit to a town. In preparation for the king’s arrival, the town decided to fill a giant barrel with wine and present it to the king as a welcome gift. The town was known for its vineyards and all of the families were wine-makers. The idea was that each family would bring a bottle of their finest wine and pour it into the giant barrel. The day finally arrived for the king to visit. The people had gathered in the town square where the ceremony would take place. The king was shown the giant barrel and was given a beautiful golden chalice. They filled his chalice with wine from the barrel. The townspeople were shocked by the look on the king’s face as he drank the wine. The king was obviously very disappointed. When asked why, he responded by saying, “It’s water!” It turns out that each family thought to themselves why should we give our finest wine away. Let us pour in water, no one will ever notice just one bottle of water among all that wine. Wine demands commitment.

The older I get, the more I realize what is important and valuable in life, and the part I must play in cherishing it. Things like love, relationships, family and friends, commitment, patience and dedication. These are the true wines of life. We need more wine in our lives.

I also realize that I must filter daily to rid the sediment and impurities from my vat. It is a constant endeavor. In fact, someone once said, “Whine is made from sour grapes.” A lot of times, I have a tendency to be a "whine-maker." But what I really want to be is a "wine"-maker. I was to establish and build relationships. I want to learn to be a better lover of the people around me - a better father, son, brother, and friend. I want to be more dedicated to people, more aware of their needs. I want to learn how to be patience - slow down, relax, pour myself a glass of wine and savor what is really important in life, it's not money or possessions but relationships and opportunities to serve. These are the things that are not sour, but get better with age and intoxicate others.

What about you? Do you want to be a "whine"-maker or a "wine"-maker? What kind of whine/wine are you producing?

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing." - Ernest Hemingway

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