Wine or Beer, My Dear?


Sarah Sobanski

My mother didn’t like wine until she was 40-years-old. She told me so after my first sip of wine at a Thanksgiving dinner sometime in my early teens. Almost a decade later, still nowhere near my forties, I’ve planted my feet firmly in the vineyard as an oenophile.

Where my mother’s generation found wine somewhere in the middle of their lives, my generation pops corks by their late teens. That’s not to say that we have a refined vinous pallet, nevertheless, young people are on the wine-train.

With the emergence of Gen Y and Gen Z, so too came the attitude of destroying elitist notions. Wine, which was first discovered 6,000 years ago in the Middle East, has traditionally been associated with the ‘snobby’ upper-class. Now, it has become communal.

Photo: Karen Graham.

Photo: Karen Graham.

According to Ruby Media, by 2012, the same percentage of people who drank beer equaled those who drank wine, a 10 per cent decrease in the popularity of beer over 10 years. These wine stats came from 18 to 29-year-olds and those over 50. That in mind, 190 billion gallons of beer were still consumed globally last year, while only 30 billion gallons of wine were guzzled with the United States over taking France as the number one wine market in the world in 2013.

I’m not saying there’s a problem with beer, but wine is trending, and the best way to get wine might very well be by making it yourself. With an average cost of $4 a bottle in a 30 bottle batch, give-or-take depending on how long you’re willing to wait, being a wine lover is cost effective. You can also know exactly where your grapes are coming from, and choose from higher concentrates to a purer juice blend.

Wine Expert Merv Bayley of B&B Wine Making in Bethany says he can pull in $800 in a single order on a good day. “Of course we have our down months,” says Bayley. “August everyone is on holidays, and January people are short on money or making resolutions – but mostly business is good.” He and his wife, Vicki Barton, can turn grapes into just about anything, from jelly to juice, open every day except Sundays.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that you have to let it [your made wine] age after you’ve bottled it; like the wine in liquor stores go somewhere to age before they go to the store.”,” says Bayley, as I order my batches at his store on highway 7A…


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