When I started drink wine in my early 20s. I had not a good job and I used to drink wine in friend’s houses. Cheap wine. I drank it because was alcohol for free.
Few years later, I got a good job and in this work, they paid our dinner in restaurants near of the office. Wine didn’t allow, but we got an agreement with the waiter: no wine in the bill meaning a good tip to him.
At that time and in those business restaurants, they had no real good wines (but better than my friend’s houses).
We started then with wines low-profile: cheap but not cheaper. When we began felt comfortable with our tip-system, we changed the to tourist restaurants instead. They had better wines.
Was an incredible wine experience. We started to notice the difference among the good, great and worst wines. We realized another big thing: when we raise the wine quality, we can’t go back to cheaper wine. We tried, but couldn’t get it.
This wine trip had a miserable restriction: our dinner budget was limited. Can you believe it? Ridiculous… poor of us!
Anyway, when this job ended, me and two of my ex-coworkers met each weekend to dinner and drink wine. With few rules:
1) House meeting rotation: each week, we met in different house
2) Food: the homeowner needed cook for us and our wifes
3) Wine: each of us (including the homeowner) brought their fav wine
4) Just red wine was allow
5) Wine price it had to be greater than 20 USD. No high limit
Our meetings were awesome, but we found an issue: three bottles of wine weren’t enough. Then, we changed the rules 3:
New 3) One bottle of fav wine and one new wine.
Our meetings started Saturday at 9 pm and finished about 6 am. Drinking Cabernet, Shiraz, Pinot noir, etc.
In the 90s, Argentina had a fictional economic prosperity. Our government implemented the Currency Board pegging the Argentine peso to the US Dollar, attempt to end the hyperinflation and stimulate the economic growth.
With that, I was able to buy my first house using my saving of three years and a loan, paying it 11% annual in just four years.
In-betweens, I got my quadruplets (1998), also drinking a good and expensive wine (sometimes we had wines of 100 USD bottle).
Our dream ended in 2002 with a big economic crisis. Our 1-to-1 Peso-USD becomes, suddenly, in 1 USD = 4 Pesos. We had three Presidents in a week, etc (just another sad story about Argentine economic)
Conclusion? No more wine to me. For many years my family asked: Why do you don’t drink wine anymore? I always said: “I don’t like wine anymore…”. But the truth, in my mind was: “I can’t drink cheap wine anymore”.
During my last trip to Europe, I drank a lot of wine. Good wine could be cheap there. After that, I started wine again. The only condition is great trades (usually > 20 USD).
After all, life is too short to drink cheap wine.
See you soon