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Homer Simpson once said: “Beer: The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” This perfectly illustrates the dual role of alcohol in society. It is known that alcohol is a social lubricant and people all over have been applying this effect for thousands of years. Humans invariably find themselves in embarrassing yet amusing social situations and I’ve found that my trusty companion, my glass of wine, is often the culprit. My best stories always involve wine in some way, so allow me to share a few.

For instance, have you ever been to a dinner or other event where you bring an expensive bottle of wine, only to be offered some dreadful plonk? This happened to me recently. As I presented the host with my exquisite Semillon/Sauvignon blanc blend, he promptly put it down (literally and figuratively) and opened a bottle of sweet wine that had a poorly designed picture of an intoxicated mule on the label. Shortly afterwards, somebody pointed out that I was making frequent trips to the kitchen. The host was obviously most unimpressed when he learned that I was tossing his plonk and replacing it with my marvellous mixture.

Quite some time ago at a dinner, nail-polish remover masquerading as a Bordeaux blend was served. The winemaker responsible for this concoction was present and eventually sought my opinion on his wine. I quickly ran through my options for escape and realised that if I pretended to like the wine, I would be doomed to spend the rest of the evening trying to remove nail-polish remover from my palate. My sarcastic wit got the better of me and I replied that my girlfriend had run out of nail-polish remover and his wine would be a good substitute. I was unpopular for a couple of hours, but at least I got to recover and nurture my pallet with a tastier red option.

The coup de grace of all my faux pas happened years ago when I was a waiter at a highly esteemed restaurant. After clearing wine glasses from a table surrounded by raucous Brits and making my way to the kitchen, I noticed something bobbing around in a glass of red wine. After brief inspection, I was horrified to discover a set of dentures submerged in the wine. Instantly thereafter a loud commotion ensued at said table, led by a high pitched shrilling voice. With laughter echoing from the kitchen and with a red face, I approached the dreaded table and noticed with relief that most of the Brits were laughing. The now standing owner of the dentures and source of the earlier shrill babbling, an octogenarian, poked me in the chest with a bony finger and cackled: “Oi, there is only on thing dearer to me than my teeth and that is me wine!” I was naturally dumbfounded and my rescue came when one of the Brits glibly quipped: “And by the looks of it, she really got her teeth into it…” .

Bernard Mocke is a technical consultant for Anchor Wine Yeast.

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