Raising a (small) glass for English Wine Week
You don't need to scroll very far through most parenting-related social media feeds to find some reference to wine, since the glass in hand meme has come to symbolise much more than a dinner-side delicacy, social lubricant or celebratory toast. Whatever your thoughts on the trend, wine has become a somewhat ubiquitous feature of modern parenting culture, with valid cases both justifying and critiquing the 'wine mum' phenomenon.
The main problem with this trend, it would seem, is one of association. That is, the presumption that every mother pictured with a glass of wine is party to the leagues of excess and irresponsibility. This is simply not the case, as the mothering masses occupying the middle ground will certainly attest.
The popularity of #winetime and campaigns such as Dry January on social media are a testament to the camaraderie that seems to exist only in extremes. There is no hashtagging in moderation, so far as I can see! But with English Wine Week upon us - a time to celebrate all that is positive and cultural about wine - there's no better opportunity to turn the tables on this 'tipple taboo' and give a long overdue plug for wine's place in a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Balanced, of course, is the operative word here. Whether drunk to excess, or abstained from altogether, the cultural value and health benefits of wine are lost entirely. This is one instance where a glass half full really is the best approach. Applying this approach, both literally and figuratively speaking, does require eliminating the barriers to moderation that modern day life seems to have created in recent years. Not least among these is stress, social pressures and the upsizing of wine glasses to pint size proportions...to name but a few.
So how can we look to improve our relationship with wine, to avoid joining the ranks of the 'wine mum' stereotype, while still executing our right to indulge in the odd glass of white (or red) if we fancy?
Never drink ‘on the hoof’
Eating on the go or while distracted (ie. whilst cooking dinner or scrolling through social media) is a big ‘no no’ when it comes to managing calories, and the same rule applies to units. It’s easy to consume more than you think you have in a busy context, and the worse part is, the enjoyment factor that typically abounds in more relaxed, focused settings is lost completely when you're 'busy boozing' (ie. drinking while generally being busy). Only pour a glass of wine when you’re sat down and you’re phone is away, as a good starting point to developing a healthier relationship with wine. After all, it is only by savouring wine slowly and moderately that its unique complex flavours and character can be fully appreciated and enjoyed.
The benefits of organic don’t just apply to the food we eat. Switching to organic wine means you avoid the chemical and pesticide residues found in non-organic versions, so lessening the burden on your liver, which then only has to deal with the alcohol!
Raise your glass
If you want to enjoy a glass of wine, the key to feeling satisfied on less is to raise the treat value. Use a posh glass, and chill your bottle thoroughly. Warm wine in a chunky goblet is a waste of units!
Variety and quality
There is much more to wine than we often give it credit for. There are countless wine regions across the world producing an endless variety of products, but we often tend to stick to what we know, perhaps perpetuating the habitual aspect of wine drinking. Breaking a routine - even one as seemingly insignificant as our regular shopping list - can help to turn a Groundhog Day of stress = Sauvignon on its head! Also, since familiarity and passion rarely co-exist, it makes sense that trying something new regularly can help to keep wine exciting and fine tune our palette to feel satisfied on less.
From a patriotic and a taste perspective, English wines have come up trumps in recent years, so much so that big French champagne houses, Taittinger and Vranken-Pommery Monopole, recently began English wine projects in Canterbury and Hampshire. Sales of domestically grown wine have also been growing steadily since 2000, with Waitrose and Marks & Spencer now offering many different English varieties.
In all, this goes to show that wine CAN be a part of a healthy lifestyle, with a few mindful considerations of course. And just as well too, since a little of what you fancy really does go a long way, particularly when all other basic luxuries such as sitting down to eat and enjoying a full cup of (hot) coffee are so hard to come by in the midst of parenting chaos. Not only this, being a parent comes with it's fair share of guilt already (guilt over imparting discipline. Going back to work. Not getting to the gym. Not having eaten a vegetable in over a week... and so it goes on!). Surely, with all these pangs to contend with, a guilty pleasure is something we can do without?