I Can't Stand the Taste of Wine, I'm a Wine-No

 i don't like wine

Some friends and I are out for a birthday dinner at an expensive restaurant. After much deliberation, a wine is finally chosen by my friend David, who not only knows a lot about wine but lives in France, which makes him a wine expert by default.

The waiter comes with a bottle of the house’s best red and after getting David's approval begins to pour the garnet liquid into the glasses already placed there on the table. I put my hand over the glass, in what I'm pretty sure is the international symbol of I'm not having any, when the waiter asks, "None for you?" I indicate again that I’m not drinking. The waiter pauses, nods his head in agreement, and then gets a look of understanding on his face that seems to say, “Oh, I get it. You’re sober.”

However, I'm not in recovery, and while I have a lot sympathy for people who struggle with alcohol addiction, I’m not one of them. I'm not being good, brave, or disciplined; I just don't like the taste of fermented grapes.

I can’t stand wine, which annoys my friends and family.

It’s challenging for people to wrestle with the idea that I'm not a wine drinker by choice—when it finally dawns on them that I just don't like how it tastes and smells, my wine-hating is held against me. I can tell (particularly as they've told me directly) that most of my family and friends wish I drank more, specifically wine. These people, who know me better than anyone, wrongly feel that I developed my hatred for wine just to spite them.

I already have several addictions such as Facebook slot-machines, food, and buying books. Do I really need to develop another one just so my friends and family don’t feel self-conscious about the amount of wine they drink?

I wish I enjoyed wine because I can tell that I’m missing out. I can see that a love of wine is much more than a taste, it's an enriching lifestyle, and by choosing not to drink it, I've made myself a permanent outsider of the in-crowd or the in-crowd of my near-and-dear.

You'd think by this time, everyone would have gotten used to the idea of my not drinking wine and that it wouldn’t be the subject of debate all the time, but this isn’t the case. Hilarious comedy bits (that never grow stale) are performed repeatedly. One of the most popular bits is called, Christine, would you like a glass of wine? Hysterical, as if the 500 times I've refused a glass of wine has never happened, and that under the right circumstances I will come to my senses and enjoy a glass. Nope, I still don't want any wine, not today and not three years from today.

Then there are the times where I'm shunned from any wine-centric event such as wine-tasting trips, or the habitual after-work decompression at the wine-bar. It's even frowned upon if I want to toast with water when others are toasting with wine as it's not only considered bad form, it's thought of as unlucky.

When I was born, everything was in place for me to grow-up into a wine-drinker. I was raised in California, a place full of vineyards, including my own backyard where a grapevine twisted overhead on a trellis that dipped down low enough to pick a ripening grape right off the vine. It was then that I developed a love of the sweet-juicy grape and a distaste for what it became.

Grape juice is delicious, wine is just grape juice gone bad.

Both of my parents are wine drinkers and usually had some with dinner, especially on special occasions. I'm sure there were times that I was allowed to have a sip or two of the wine that remained at the bottom of the glass as you do with children of European-born parents. But no matter how many sips of wine I've had over the years, it continued to taste terrible to me.

David has said to me (repeatedly,) "When will you start drinking more adult beverages like wine?” At this point, it's safe to answer, "Never."

Wine lovers get so much satisfaction from wine, that goes beyond imbibing it. They can revel in their wine-knowledge, savor the experience of drinking it, and make it the focal point of a meal. Wine doesn't even need to be paired with food, it can stand alone and make just having a glass of wine a special occasion. I’m also not allowed to forget that wine is good for you and heart-healthy.

Wine bonds people together, but my being a wine-no, puts a wall between us.

I think of myself as a foodie, so there have been times that I've gone to tastings, only to have the sommelier's face fall as I refuse to drink the wine that has been carefully picked to pair with the specially prepared dish.

I’m sure that the cheese does bring out the fruity touches in the wine but I’m going to have to take your word for it.

One of my most prized possessions is a set of gorgeous Hungarian hand cut gem-colored stemware that my parents received as a wedding gift. These glasses usually sit gathering dust in a sideboard in my dining room until the rare occasion arises and I have a dinner party. My guests, who've brought their own wine, drink from those glasses, but I have never used them.

So, no, I wouldn't like a glass of wine, no matter what the vintage is or whether it's a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Pinot Noir (I have no idea what those words mean,) or even if it's your own wine that you made yourself. I'm happy with my iced tea, or water. But you go ahead, I’m not going to impose my dislikes on you.

Try not to judge me, it's not easy being the cheese who stands alone. Argh, cheese, yet another thing that pairs better with wine than I do.