In Defence of Drinking Alone During a Coronavirus

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Many of you are aware that during the recent lockdown and current COVID19 restrictions, the sale of off-trade alcohol grew – a lot. Particularly wine sales. So, we wondered was this, as a result of more families drinking together, more single people drinking alone or just because pubs, restaurants and shops were shut.

This led to a Green Acres wine team discussion about social attitudes, and the age-old notion that drinking alcohol alone, regardless of the reason, is wrong. 

As it happened, we were chatting with our good friend and marketing specialist Jim Kelly from O’C&K who suggested that, in his opinion, the stigma of drinking alone has possibly been knocked on the head by COVID19.

(You might remember Jim accompanied us on a En Primeur trip to Bordeaux in 2018 and wrote about his experiences here – An Amateur’s First Taste of En Primeur 2017).

We asked him to elaborate on his point and he did so, by way of this post – read on.

Is it OK Now, To Open that Bottle of Wine – for Yourself?

“For centuries, drinking alone was often considered a sign of a serious problem, evidence of illness and/or an indication of possible alcoholism. Not being in any way medically qualified to debate those points, I will avoid that rabbit hole. However, I think we can all agree that COVID 19 has landed us in a different scenario, on many levels.

By simply complying with the new protocols from the Health Service Executive (HSE), we were/are distancing ourselves, isolating and self-quarantining at times. So, if you are by yourself in the house, all alone, surely it is all right to open that bottle of wine? In this post, I will suggest that the undertones about drinking alone are not as pertinent now.

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Image by Louise Dav from Pixabay

Open Your Mind When Opening a Bottle of Wine – for Yourself.

For the life of me I can’t remember where I read an article depicting a humorous approach to opening a bottle for yourself. However, from memory, it went something like this:

Initial ResistanceYour brain will resist the notion straight away. The more it dismisses it – the more your resistance breaks down.

Self-Denial‘Even if I had a bottle of wine in the house – I don’t need it now.’

Contemplation‘If I did open a bottle, what type would I go for?’

Negotiation‘Well, I could have just two glasses and keep the rest for the weekend.’

PromisesAfter dismissing the thought again – you promise to stick to two (or three maybe)

OpeningThe story begins…….

Drinkingthree glasses later and the movie/show/match isn’t finished on TV

Residual thoughts‘Well there’s only a glass left so …..’

DrowsinessYou are very relaxed mentally and physically and everything is warm (maybe fuzzy).

I can certainly empathise with these stages. Anyway, the point I’m labouring to make is that drinking wine is for enjoyment. What’s the difference between drinking a few bottles, say over an evening at a party, and one at home with yourself? Who better to sometimes socialise with than with yourself?

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Image by Prawny from Pixabay

Tips to Enhance the Experience of Opening a Bottle of Wine – for Yourself.

I know that my opening defence of solo drinking has been built around the coronavirus and its terrible consequences.  I do not mean to belittle the seriousness of COVID19.

There are many other not-so-great reasons for popping a cork on your own. Two of them being – a bad day at the office or, eh, well, because you are on your own!

However, I’d argue that it doesn’t have to be a negative reason to open a bottle, and if you do – for yourself – here are some tips that might be considered at the ‘Opening Phase’ mentioned above:

  • Don’t always open the easy-to-drink bottle, try something different.
  • Listen to music instead of watching TV (not a blues number).
  • Have a bath instead of a shower (don’t bring the bottle with you).
  • Have some snacks that enhance the wine’s flavour (it’s a distraction).
  • Do try and avoid social media as much as possible.
  • Avoid binge watching a full Netflix season of whatever.
  • If possible – sit out in the garden and stay connected with the world around you.

No point-of-view is valid without a counter position so I would recommend that you read this fabulous article by Alice Feiring of the media network Grub Street: The Allure and Anxiety of Drinking Alone in Quarantine , where she states that” “Wine, for me, has met its match in captivity. It just isn’t as satisfying.

I loved this article and do accept her point but, as a wine writer, I believe she is coming from a slightly different place from the rest of us imbibers.

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Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Conclusion

Most of us will understand that opening a bottle of wine encourages bonhomie. In light of the recently announced (HSE) restrictions in Ireland around bars etc. this might not be a fitting activity to pursue, in large gatherings. But in fairness, drinking a bottle can offer some time for contemplation as well, which is almost always welcome, especially if the conversation is with yourself.” ….Jim

Thank you, Jim, for sharing your views with us, and thank you, the reader, for supporting us during this pandemic. If you would like to order wine or discuss any aspect of this post please email me or ring us on  +353 (0) 53 91 22975. Enjoy the rest of your summer. – James O’Connor