First Dates + Wine: An Introduction

Dr. James Hamblin, Health Editor at The Atlantic, has an entertaining video that references wine and dating, painfully depicting one of the downsides of first dates—being stood up. Sorry, James.

I myself have been off the dating market for more than three decades, but I still vividly recall the anxiety that can sometimes accompany first dates. This is often fed by the desire not to appear incompetent or desperate to the person you are meeting for the first time.

First-daters today may also have an added element of stress that we Baby Boomers never faced “back in the day” regarding something that should be simple: namely, ordering wine.

In the 1970s and 1980s ordering wine at a restaurant had little to do with impressing your date, because your choices on the wine list were mostly generic red or white wine (maybe Red Burgundy or Chablis). Sure, you could earn a few brownie points by properly pronouncing a sweet Riesling-like white wine known as “Liebfraumilch” (Leeb-fraw-milch), but that was most likely your only wine-ordering hurdle.

So this may not be a date, but fondue and red wine was all the rage.

So this may not (or it could) be a date, but fondue and red wine was all the rage. Check out more great 1970s dinner party moments with wine.

Today, things are not so simple.


Pinot Noir?

Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon

….versus Cabs from other wine-growing areas of the world??

Your wine list may even include Washington Cabs from different AVAs (what does that even mean? Aviators Voting Anonymously? Any Variety At-all??).

If you don’t understand rudimentary French, you may be stymied by something much more basic, such as the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc? And in desperation, many may reach for the beer menu (only to possibly confront multiple varieties of IPAs, Biere de Gardes) (those $%#@ French are even making me look like an idiot with beer?!), double bocks, Lambic ales, etc.))

Well, I think it’s about time we have some conversations on these things that you might be confronted with on those first dates. Wine, anxiety, social interaction, relationships. Those can be our “hashtags” for this discussion (I’m learning slowly, Lillian).

A kind of awkward photo that Lillian found. (Online)dating and sharing wine?

A kind of awkward photo that Lillian found. (Online)dating and sharing wine?

While talking about the wine, we will also discuss what the social sciences can tell us about such first encounters, beyond merely choosing your wine. Of course, I am first to say that all such first meetings have their unique characteristics, and therefore, the information we offer should be taken with the proverbial “grain of salt.”  Though, I think this is going to be fun. What do you think, Lillian?

Lillian here, and I am on board with this thread of posts! Here in New York, this is a big deal, and no less in other places. Will revert very soon with a follow up!

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