Can I get you a glass of wine, honey?”

My Wine Epiphany


1998 Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon

“Can I get you a glass of wine, honey?”

My father-in-law, bottle in hand, asks this question as soon as hugs and kisses are exchanged upon arrival. Within moments, the wine is flowing into small glass goblets passed down from previous generations. The family gathers round, and stories from the past and present are told late into the night. An abundance of food appears and laughs are had until all are ready to pass into a pleasant slumber.

Whenever we would visit the family, the scene described above would occur. The wine offered was nothing that would be termed particularly special or expensive. My glass would be refilled before I would even realize it was close to empty. And every time, love and laughter would surround me.
But wait, you’re thinking, you can’t have a wine epiphany over a common table wine! Surely you’ve had finer wines that have spoken to you, drawn you in, shown you the way to wine righteousness? I’ve definitely had ‘wow’ moments with some extraordinary wines; however if I’m honest, my first real wine moment came with the experience of sharing a simple bottle of 1993 Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon with the unbelievable folks that would become my in-laws.

They paid maybe $8.00 for this bottle. During the evening, no one tried to decipher the aroma for hints of this or that or held it up against a white background to determine the color. Tasting notes were not compared. The wine was just enjoyed. The wine was probably not all that good, although by now I don’t remember the exact particulars and didn’t take any notes.
According to Decanter’s vintage guide for 1993 California Cabernet Sauvignon, rain fell during the blooming period in May leading to smaller crops. Ripening was slow due to alternating hot and cool weather. The weather heated up in late August sending sugar levels up, although some producers picked too early, resulting in Cabernets that lacked ripe fruit. Others were overly tannic. It was 1995 when I first visited my in-laws, and we consumed a fair amount of 1993 California Cabernets, which covered the range from dull to tannic. As casual wine consumers, I’m not sure we really noticed.
Today when visiting my in-laws, the same tradition continues. There usually aren’t any famous labels or expensive wines present, but it’s really not about that. Sure, the range of choices and quality of the wines has increased over the years. We talk more about the wine, noticing its smells and flavors, comparing against others we’ve shared and giving recommendations to each other.

I’ve enjoyed becoming more knowledgeable about wine and in the end I’ve come to realize that sharing a bottle of wine, whatever it is, with those you hold most dear in life is one of the best ways to spend an evening. And that realization is what made me really love wine. 

Marie Payton writes for The Life of Vines. She enjoys continually learning about wine and is up for trying just about anything! Secretly envious of those who get to be in the fields, she loves to visit vineyards and talk to winemakers.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: BrandonA
    39873 142

    Very nice story. Often times I find good company adds a lot to any drink or dish!

    Aug 18, 2011 at 1:49 PM

  • Snooth User: Ice dog
    917139 0

    Nice spotlight on Woodbridge and family. I'd say it's important to revisit a cheaper bottle now and then to remind your palate what a nice, average wine taste like.

    Aug 18, 2011 at 7:29 PM

  • Brandon and Ice, thanks for your comments! So glad you enjoyed it. Good company is always the best pairing!

    Aug 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM

  • Great story and wonderful memories!

    Aug 18, 2011 at 8:47 PM

  • must be the the best story I have read thus far. So true about enjoying the moment with loved one's than trying to pick apart a bottle of wine regardless of the price tag. thanks sharing!

    Aug 18, 2011 at 9:03 PM

  • Snooth User: mmssun50
    917250 2

    Marie you really have told us about how families make life special and how the wine compliments it.

    Aug 18, 2011 at 10:27 PM

  • I love this! I feel the same way -- wine or coffee. I'm not a connoisseur on either, but I know what I like and what I don't like. I don't try to dissect it, but judge it on the company, atmosphere and how it makes me feel. That may be wrong, but feels just right for me.

    Aug 18, 2011 at 11:25 PM

  • Snooth User: nonnip
    917586 0

    Marie - what can we say except that you will always cease to amaze our family with your thirst for knowledge, no matter what the subject, and your love of life learning to seize every moment available to you. Our family has been blessed from the first day you entered it. YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND WE LOVE YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Aug 20, 2011 at 8:41 AM

  • Snooth User: hotbabe22
    919614 0

    I am not a wine connoisseur and don't expect I will ever be although I certainly have my favorites. But Marie has hit the nail on the head of the proverbial wine bottle--it is about the company and the memories that come from sharing a bottle of a white or red with family or friends. This was a delightful piece--thank you Marie.
    Mary T.

    Aug 22, 2011 at 8:41 AM

  • Marie, you warm the heart. Family, Friends & wine go together,

    Aug 27, 2011 at 10:03 PM

  • I'm a port man myself but the way you write about this wine and the warm memories is amazing.. Plus it goes to show you that you don't have to spend big bucks to find a bottle of wine that you will enjoy, which is even better with loved ones.

    Dig your writing style. Thanks for sharing on #EAv!

    Aug 28, 2011 at 12:53 AM

  • Well done, beautiful article and I hope you win the contest! Very touching take on wine!

    Aug 28, 2011 at 6:53 AM

  • Thanks! I'm a lucky person to have such wonderful family to share with!

    Aug 29, 2011 at 10:42 PM

  • Love your story! While a good quality wine is nice, what makes sharing a bottle awesome is the company you are with. Love it!

    Sep 01, 2011 at 11:07 AM

  • Good story... and very true... I don't decipher the wine either. Just open that $10 bottle, share, and drink. Of course, some good food is needed to go with that wine too. :)

    Sep 02, 2011 at 10:36 PM

  • Snooth User: mmmbuzz
    927373 0

    VERY well written... LOVE your perspective!

    Sep 02, 2011 at 11:59 PM

  • I'm glad to see that you have won the writing contest. Your story was heartwarming and very real. Thank you for sharing.

    Sep 16, 2011 at 1:55 PM

  • Snooth User: kathy4777
    924430 8

    Congrats. Everything should be great when your with family. It makes the food and wine you are drimking so much better.

    Sep 16, 2011 at 2:37 PM

  • Snooth User: nonnip
    917586 0

    As we said before ""you go girl "" congratulations on a story very heartwarmingly told. We really knew you would win the contest. Looking forward to our next glass of wine together.

    LOL, Mom & Dad P

    Sep 17, 2011 at 9:56 AM

  • Snooth User: heyecarol
    975636 0

    Hello Marie,
    Very interesting article on sharing wine with your family and friends. I really enjoy wine with my meals, but often start with a glass of wine while preparing a crock pot meal and sometimes I even put some in it. lol. I've had wine tastings at my home and thoroughly enjoy matching up the wines with various recipes, it certainly makes a difference. My kitchen is decorated with grape and wine motif. I'm enjoying your recommended wines and now it's time to go and relax with a glass of wine for me and my honey. Good Luck in your certification.

    Nov 18, 2011 at 3:51 PM

  • Snooth User: Yardwine
    1109730 44

    Just read your post. Loved it so much I posted it on our facebook page at Hope that's OK. Cheers!

    Jun 07, 2012 at 2:16 PM

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