November 12, 2015

The Importance of Wine Culture in Spain

When one drinks a glass of Spanish wine, they are not just drinking wine, they are partaking of an ancient and honoured Spanish tradition passed down through history. In Spain, wine is a lifestyle. They are very serious about the production of grapes as, for many Spaniards, it is their livelihood. In effect, one could say that wine is a part of Spain’s life’s blood. In fact, there is a popular drink made with fruit and wine (Spanish sparkling wine) that is called “sangria”, which means “blood”.

Wine has always been an integral part of every-day life in Europe. Wine is used in sauces, cooking and baking. It is a medicine. It is a family heirloom. It is hidden in wine cellars like precious gold. Wine is a tourist attraction. Many Spanish towns are known for their vineyards. For generations, wine has been on the table of every Spanish family during meal times. The table is not fully set unless a bottle or two of wine is present. Not only does the wine aid in digestion but it serves to cleanse the palate. It settles the stomach and relaxes the body. Even children are taught to take a little wine with their meal.

At weddings, birth celebrations, christenings or even funerals, wine is an indispensable component that binds hearts together. It unites the generations, from the youngest to the oldest in a ritual that has continued unbroken from the beginning of man’s existence on the planet. What would Spain be without her gorgeous, romantic grape vineyards?

People from around the world come to see the green vines flowing over trestles and arches, burgeoning with grapes. Some of these vineyards are hundreds of years old and speak of by-gone years of wine-makers, lovingly raising their precious fruit for that perfect bottle of Spanish wine. Every New Year’s Eve in Spain, grapes are everywhere. Every truly Spanish person knows the importance of having a supply of grapes on hand the last night of the year.

As the Near Year approaches, each person will get their own bowl and fill it with 12 grapes. That’s because there is a tradition in Spain that everyone must eat one grape for every bell strike of midnight. Eating twelve grapes in twelve bell strikes is not as easy as it sounds. But, it must be done if you want the New Year to smile on you. Grapes. Those little orbs of love that get crushed and broken in order to bring forth the luxurious gift of a bottle of wine. King Solomon drank his wine from solid gold goblets.

No doubt, drinking wine from a golden goblet would enhance the flavour. Even a silver goblet would add a touch of glamour. There are many Spanish wines to choose from, from a citrus tangy white wine to a moody red Tempranillo. And, although most of us may not be able to drink wine from a golden goblet, every one of them is fit for a king!