Millennals and Wine
I’ve told the story of how I became a wine-lover so many times that I have a template now. In summary it is “I didn’t drink any wine, now I drink all the wine”! But it really is more complex than a simple transition from conservative teetotaller to bottle-toting wine enthusiast over the years. As a child of Zimbabwe, enough of my childhood memories involve uncles being used as cautionary tales about the evils of things that come in bottles sold in standalone stores, consumed after dark in places that women of virtue should know nothing about. I think that the socio-political climate in many developing (and indeed, developed) countries influences how we relate to the world around us, and of course, I was moulded by these surroundings.
Fast forward to 2010 when I moved to Cape Town for university. I spent most of my free time with family, some of whom, much like the millions of Zimbabweans who left home seeking friendlier economic pastures, found themselves serving exquisite wine in equally stellar restaurants. What started out as a treat and introduction to red wine in the form of a bottle of (what I now know to be a great wine) Alto Rouge in my cousin’s kitchen at midnight after one of her shifts, turned into my helping her prepare for menu tests and accompanying her to staff tastings. Between that and the standard box-wine purchased on student budgets for university house parties (plus the vicious headaches that followed), I soon developed my own palate. One which leaned towards full bodied, expressive red wines and crisp, dry whites.
The novelty of belonging to this club of young, middle class black people, who have access to good wine and the knowledge of how and where to drink it, began wearing off when I noticed a tendency to always purchase and serve the same wine at gatherings. I am fortunate enough to have a non-homogeneous circle of friends which ranges from fellow legal professionals and advertising executives to wine estate employees and entrepreneurs. Add the inexhaustible variety of wine available in Cape Town to this eclectic mix, and you have the ideal milieu for exploration and diverse wine choices. So, I decided to embark on a journey to change how my peers interact with wine via a wine blog and a project which I (in all vanity) named #BeccasWineSwap.
I think that as millennials, we have mastered the art of living boldly, being ungovernable in the way in which we experience the world and express ourselves. While this is true, it is also true that we can be duplicitous in our engagement with the world around us because at the end of the day, tradition colours our lived experiences. Traditions such as formal employment, education and saving for an increasingly uncertain future. What I want to do with my project, is marry this unorthodox zest for life with the tradition that is wine and create a culture of wine consumption on our own terms. You know, without the stiff-collardness of crystal and china-set dining rooms and in a way that opens the often gate-kept doors of wine for anyone, to drink whatever they like, when they like.