From the Wine Cellar: The Wit and Wisdom of Wine

March 9, 2012
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By Charles B. Rubinstein

“A man cannot make him laugh
but that’s no marvel; he drinks no wine.”
William Shakespeare

Many wine connoisseurs tend to treat the subject of wine too seriously, leaving little room for humor. That view is not universally shared among the members of the group nor is it shared among those who simply enjoy wine without any pretension getting in the way. Many famous people have made humorous and witty comments about wine, and I have used some of those quotations in my newspaper columns. I’ve made a great effort not to repeat any unless it is absolutely necessary. Fortunately there are still a great many unused from which to choose for future articles. Some of my favorites I will probably never get to use because they may not be applicable. A sampling of those quotations follow.

“Blind tastings are to wine are what strip poker is to love.”
Kermit Lynch

“When asked whether he ever confused a Bordeaux with a Burgundy in a blind tasting, British wine legend Harry Waugh replied: ‘Not since lunch.’”
“I spent ninety percent of my money on wine, women and song and just wasted the other ten percent.”
Ronnie Hawkins

“In the order named, these are the hardest to control: Wine, Women, and Song.”
Franklin P. Adams

“I drink champagne when I win, to celebrate…and I drink champagne when I lose, to console myself.”

“Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.”
W.C. Fields

“I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”
W.C. Fields

“I’m like old wine. They don’t bring me out very often, but I’m well preserved.”
Rose Kennedy

“Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.”

“Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.”
Joan Collins

“Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.”
Collin Powell

“Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”
Pope John XXIII

“A man will be eloquent if you give him good wine.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Wine makes a man better pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.”
Samuel Johnson

“It is widely held that too much wine will dull a man’s desire. Indeed it will in a dull man.”
John Osborne

“A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle.”
Charles Baudelaire

“Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take a lady out for dinner. Tactics is getting her to drink it.”
Frank Muir

“Appreciating old wine is like making love to a very old lady. It is possible. It can even be enjoyable. But it requires a bit of imagination.”
Andre Tchelistcheff

“Anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.”
Leon Adams

“You haven’t drunk too much wine if you can still lie on the floor without holding on.”
Dean Martin

“The University of Nebraska says that elderly people that drink beer or wine at least four times a week have the highest bone density. They need it – they’re the ones falling down the most.
Jay Leno

“After wine is bottled, it’s transported to the Pretentious Phrase Room, where professional wine snots think of ways to make fermented grape juice sound more complex than nuclear physics [on the back label]”
Dave Barry Calendar

“I loved the [story] about how a great wine connoisseur invited the composer Johannes Brahms to dinner. ‘This is the Brahms of my cellar,’ he said to his guests, producing a dust-covered bottle and pouring some into the master’s glass. Brahms looked first at the color of the wine, then sniffed its bouquet, finally took a sip, and put the glass down without saying a word. ‘Don’t you like it?’ asked the host. ‘Hmmmm,’ Brahms muttered. ‘Better bring out your Beethoven!”
Arthur Rubinstein

“A typical wine writer was once described as someone with a typewriter who was looking for his name in print, a free lunch, and a way to write off his wine cellar. It’s a dated view. Wine writers now use computers.”
Frank Prial

If you have questions or comments about wine write to me at The Two River Times or email me at

Winding Down the Week at the Winery

Pick of the Bunch

Highly Recommended

2008 Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Shiraz, Barossa Vly ($15)
2009 Christian Moreau Chablis Vaillons, Burgundy ($45)
2009 Paul Jaboulet Domaine de Thalabert Crozes Hermitage, Rhone Vly ($50)


2007 Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico, Tuscany ($17)
2009 Bodega Catena Zapata Catena Malbec, Mendoza ($20)
2008 Moreau-Naudet Chablis Forets Premier Cru, Burgundy ($26)

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