Kevin Page: I'm a (wine) glass half-full kind of guy

By Kevin Page

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From footy club to wine club ... it's still a matter of taste. Photo / File
From footy club to wine club ... it's still a matter of taste. Photo / File

Remember when we used to belong to the football club or some similar organisation where bonding and generally good times were guaranteed?

I recall distinctly rushing home from work, changing into crappy old footy jersey and shorts, then driving back across town in the dark just to throw myself around in the Linton Park mud for two hours before retiring to the bar.

Ah, the bar. That was where the fun really started. Good stories, good company, good food ... well, maybe a sausage roll or some chips, depending on how much you wanted to keep in your wallet for similar festivities at the weekend.

These days I've put the rolling round in the mud far behind me and, while I might occasionally dabble in the culinary delights of the sausage roll and the chip, my tastebuds have altered along with my hair and waistline.

My drinking too has changed a bit. I still like a red. But the bottle is less likely to have a lion on it these days.

That's because I have followed Mrs P into the world of wine drinking.

Now before you blokes start crying in your beer, let me assure you I have not deserted the brotherhood. I still know how to down a few, and I can still talk rugby and politics simultaneously with a complete stranger on either side while pointing at the wall, if you get my drift.

But I've found I can also enjoy similar discussions, and good food and drink, at my wine tasters' club.

Thus it was recently when Mrs P and I scurried off for our monthly club meeting.

I have to say some of the wine facts leave me a bit lost. I have never tasted, for example, chocolate or nettles in any wine I've drunk, yet I've been assured that's what some people "get" in their wine.

One wonders at what point they went around chomping on nettles to get a comparison.


Mostly the facts are interesting and I am now able to throw the odd tidbit around without sounding like I've just got off the boat or inhaled in too much of the sponsor's product.

And with my confidence sky high last week, I was selected as a "pourer". To a club newcomer (and particularly a football-mad Pom like me), this is like being asked to captain England at the World Cup. Except the experience lasts a bit longer.

My task, along with three other lucky club members, was to pour a small sample for four tables of people. Sounds easy, doesn't it?

I thought so too. It isn't.

Luckily, I had good friend Citizen Jane sitting at table one, so when my first attempt sloshed over the edge on to her tasting notes we all laughed.

At table two, a nice lady took pity on me and wrapped a "collar" around the bottle and suggested, after I'd spilt some wine on her husband's hand, I rotate the bottle at the end of the pour.

Table three included Mrs P and the president of the Holden's Bay branch of the Rod Stewart Fan Club. They weren't too bothered how I did it really, as long as enough of it went into the glass.

Table four had obviously seen it all before and accepted my growing embarrassment with good grace. Even accepting when I sat down with them to pour one sample and kneeled on the floor to pour another.

I figured it would be easier than standing up and sending the wine cascading into the glass to spill out everywhere.

It didn't seem to make much difference, as my bottle-wielding arm began to shake each time I approached a table.

I got through it all without dropping a bottle but poured too much sometimes and not enough at others. Some of it ended up on the floor or the table.

Sadly, none of it ended up in my glass. So worried was I that I'd poured too much elsewhere, I thought I'd better go without so everyone got a taste. I'll have a word with the committee, see if I can get it off my subs or something.

I survived without major incident but on pours two, three and four a nice big dollop of wine slowly trickled down the bottle and dripped off the end, hurtling towards the floor ... in the direction of Citizen Jane's open bag. I don't know if she has emptied it out yet and worked out what the stain is in there, but if she has I'd say it's a safe bet I won't be forking out for a ticket to the club's upcoming annual dinner. There are two reasons for that. The first is she might have a go at me. The second is I might need to save up to buy her a new bag.

Kevin Page has been a journalist for 34 years. He hasn't made enough money to retire after writing about serious topics for years, so he's giving humour a shot instead.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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