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Posted: Wed, 08 January 2020 13:33

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Blog: Tale of ‘The Two Popes’

Jan 08: Just the other day I watched the new movie ‘The two Popes’ on Netflix, based on the chain of events that made Pope Benedict from Germany to resign due to ill health and Pope Francis from Argentina who was elected subsequently in 2013 taking over. This made me think and do some research and locate some famous quotes on wine that go beyond the traditional Sacramental wines, by Pope Francis and Pope John XXIII (1958-63) from Italy, writes Subhash Arora who feels that the government of India could take some fruitful lessons too

DelWine’s policy and my aim of this Blog is not to discuss religion or the Sacramental wines or even explain their significance but to simply go through the quotes from these theological heads who control the Catholic church under which all the 1.2 billion Catholics including those in India fall.

Pope Francis (2013)

Here is a quote first from the current Pope Francis:

Maybe half of them are in old age,
but age is the seat of wisdom in life,
Let us give this wisdom to the youth,
like good wine that gets better with age.

Quite straight forward, the quote refers to the old age and getting old gracefully to make a better person due to the wisdom gained over the years. The Pope exhorts those getting old to impart this wisdom to the youth. But the emphasis also seems to be on fine wine that get better with age and hence are collectible. Please note the accent also on good (fine) wine.

Not all wines are fine and need to be consumed young. An estimated 99% of the wines are made to drink young and start wilting after 1-3 years of harvest. It is only the wines that are made to age due to grapes, vineyard or the winemaking and the type of barrel used, that give the backbone to wine and mellow the tannins, give complexity and make the wine last for years and decades sometimes.

There is another one which is even more relevant:

Water is needed to live
But wine expresses the abundance
Of the banquet
And joy of celebration.

Water is absolutely essential for human life. Our body is made of 80% water. Conventional wisdom suggests drinking eight glasses of water a day with a warning that if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. In 2017, bottled water surpassed soft drinks as the top beverage in the United States by volume, with sales up 7 percent over the previous year and sales continue to rise. But water is considered boring.

It’s the wine that enhances the nuances of a party, a family get-together, a celebration of any kind. It is not for nothing that champagne with millions of tiny bubbles, represents the joy and celebration*. In short, wine is an important part of our life and does not need to be grouped with liquor and a health hazard like any other liquor, according to Pope Francis.
Of course, I concede that being from Argentina with Italian lineage (he grew up in wine culture) but has an important message for our government and politicians.

Pope John XXIII (1958-63)

People are like Wine.
Some turn to vinegar.
But the best improve
with age.

Pope John was an Italian and knew the value of wine as a culture and the ageing potential of fine wine. It is considered a living organism and develops like human beings. Many of them (in fact a majority of wines) are like ordinary, simple daily drinking wines that need to be drunk young. If stored for a longer period, these wines turn to vinegar and are not fit to drink.

This is like busting the myth in the mind of most wine novices that every wine can be aged; only fine wine improves with age. Since there are not too many of them-less that 5% and only about 1% age for more than say, 10 years (exact number is not known), they become precious, as already explained above. The same applies to people- with the ordinary ones withering away with age, not really living a meaningful life or doing something important for the society; but only the fine men improve with experience that is worthwhile.

Wine is an integral part of the life of a Pope-beyond Sacramental wines. One hopes the Indian people in general and politicians and especially decision makers keep this in mind and give the reverence the wine deserves as a divine daily-drinking beverage.

Jai Ho!!

Subhash Arora

P.S.- I am not a Christian but completely respect what The Two Popes seem to suggest

* This is basically the reason that the Delhi Wine Club of which I am also the founding President, celebrates its 300th wine event on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at Hotel Pullman as a Champagne Brunch with Devaux D Brut champagne to celebrate the joy of the occasion- Subhash Arora


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