Hoults Wine Merchants, Huddersfield

Why Drink?

So, more people are becoming vegans and it also appears that more people are becoming teetotal. The majority of this change is with young people who are probably too busy paying off student debt and looking at their phones to rustle up a nice lamb shank and open a bottle of Chianti so they’re all just sitting around nibbling on unpeeled veg and drinking their own salty tears. (I can’t even tell if this is a dystopian or utopian future thing!) The idea that there are less people drinking alcohol is causing a lot of gnashing and wailing in this here wonderful industry which I find weird, my job isn’t to encourage people to drink alcohol but rather to help those that do, find something nice to drink.

I’ve been reading far too much about non alcoholic wine and de-alcoholised wine and how these will save the industry from this fecklessly healthy generation, that however is complete nonsense. Why do I drink wine? The answer is ‘Because I like the taste of it’, I also like some of the other effects but I am a complete wuss when it comes to hangovers so I try to exercise a modicum of restraint (that’s BS, what I actually do is drink so frequently that I can tolerate it better, but my doctor might be reading this and then I’ll get in trouble.) Now I’ve tasted plenty of these new fangled non-alcoholic alternatives and not one of them has made me think that they are even close to being as good as the real thing. They have too much sugar, way too much sugar, they lack the elegance, depth, charm, complexity and all round, well, wine-ness of wine to be in any way a suitable alternative. If I want a non alcoholic drink then I have a glass of Vimto or a cup of tea just like if I don’t want to eat meat I’ll have some nice vegetables not quorn, because it isn’t beef and it doesn’t taste like beef so stop pretending otherwise. If you feel that, despite giving up alcohol, you still need to drink something that looks like wine even if it doesn’t taste like wine then you’ve probably got other things to worry about. The same goes for that bloody Seedlip pretend gin too, it tastes nothing like gin and a lot like licking at the dusty residue in a second hand spice rack, and not in a good way.

I have been told on more than one occasion that I need to stock non alcoholic wines in the shop and I have actually stocked some in the past but it’s a nonsense. If someone decides to go vegan then they are unlikely to march on down to their local butchers and buy some carrots. I’m a wine merchant, the clue is in the title, and I’m perfectly happy for people to decide that alcohol, or indeed just wine, is not for them, but if you do like wine and you want it to taste like wine then just remember I’m here for you whenever you need me (as long as that is between 9.30 and 5.30 Monday to Saturday, I don’t do home visits.)

Right then whilst I waffle between not drinking and drinking I’m going to have a little pop at Stoptober. This is folly and you shouldn’t do it, not for anything and not just alcohol. There we are I’ve said it. Stopping doing something for a month is a silly idea when it would be much easier and healthier to just do it less often, forever. Surely not drinking a couple of nights a week all year is better than not drinking for 31 days and then going straight back to ‘aving it large for the rest of the year. Your liver works better by being used more often, it’s a very smart organ (that can’t be said for all organs!) and it learns from your mistakes, yes you can overdo it but I’m not advocating that, just little and often-ish. A recent study said that there was ‘no safe level of drinking’ but a very smart professor at Leeds University pointed out that there were many flaws in the study relating to countries, ages, genders, etc. The report said that abstention from alcohol was the best way to avoid health issues but as the Prof in Leeds said, “There is no safe level of living, but nobody is advising abstention.”

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