National Wine Day: From Leonardo da Vinci to Brian Cox, how good wine is appreciated by the greatest of minds

Leonardo da Vinci. Photo obtained via Pixabay
Leonardo da Vinci. Photo obtained via Pixabay
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Colin Burnbidge, of Lancashire Wine School, writes about the great minds who like wine

The back end of last month saw National Wine Day in both the UK and US.

My eye was caught by a US article about wine quotations which led me to research a couple more.

Some of them poetic or prosaic, others pure humour.

Either way it shows that wine has been enjoyed through the ages by all kinds of people across the world.

“The discovery of a good wine is increasingly better for mankind than the discovery of a new star,” is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, I’ve a feeling Brian Cox may even agree with that one. Perhaps this version of time travel would also suit “I shall drink no wine before its time. OK, it’s time.” – Groucho Marx

Galileo’s view on wine has me nodding with approval in its scientific accuracy and simplicity: “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”

Ernest Hemingway who is said to have shared my love of Rioja is quoted: “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”

Lilly Bollinger was a great ambassador for Champagne.

Following the death of her husband she became CEO of Bollinger Champagne in 1941 and remained in charge until 1971 travelling the world promoting the Champagne brand.

Her most famous quote is “I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I’m thirsty.”

What a great life, considerably more affordable if you live there.

Ancient wisdom comes from Homer who had a few things to say about wine but this rings so true: “Wine sets even a thoughtful man to singing, or sets him into softly laughing, sets him to dancing. Sometimes it tosses out a word that was better unspoken.”

Meanwhile in modern times another Homer discussed wine in an episode of The Simpsons “Besides, every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.

Homer Simpson said: “Remember when I took that home wine making course and I forgot how to drive?”, Marge’s reply “That’s because you were drunk.”

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

Coronation Street’s Bet Lynch once commented on the need to let wine breath: “Breath? I don’t care if its suffocating I just want to get it down me neck.”

Benjamin Franklin was a great wine lover and his wise words might be applied in these difficult times: “Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”

And from me?

“After a lifetime of learning about wine when I think I might just have just about learned it all a wine comes along and teaches me something new.”