Cheers! Wine Consultants

Whatever the reason, you should Open That Bottle

By Dan & Krista Stockman


We often tell people that we fell in love with wine as we fell in love with each other, which is true. As we began dating, we began trying different wines, and liked what we found – just as we liked what we found in one another. Soon we were going to wineries, and learning more about the wines we were drinking – and we were also head over heels in love.

But one of the keys to our love of wine maturing into a lifelong love affair was a book: “Love By the Glass,” by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, who wrote the “Tastings” wine column in the Wall Street Journal. We didn't read Tastings until we read their book, but once we read “Love By the Glass,” we were as hooked on wine and John and Dottie as we were on each other.

One of the things they shared in the book was the story of how Open That Bottle Night came to be. At the time, our wine cellar was only a handful of bottles, so we didn't yet understand that sometimes when a wine is saved for a special occasion, it becomes so special that no occasion ever seems special enough to open it. And then one day, you discover you've waited too long, and the wine is ruined.

Open That Bottle Night, celebrated the last Saturday in February, is meant to solve that problem. It's a fake, created holiday in the best sense of the word: It's an excuse to Open That Bottle. Because when you have a special bottle, the wine makes the occasion, and there's nothing worse than losing a wine because you never opened it.

In our early days, as we said, we didn't have that problem. But we did have busy lives – which have only gotten busier. We did find it was hard to slow down and savor all we had in life. We did get caught up in the day-to-day and forget that any day with each other can be special.

And so instead of digging out a dusty bottle from our cellar (at that point in our lives, no bottle was ever in the cellar long enough to get dusty!) we bought a special bottle and opened it over a nice dinner. Sure enough, a special wine (we don't even remember what the wine was all these years later) made the occasion special – we slowed down, savored the food, the company and, of course, the wine, and marveled at how just by saying we were going to have a beautiful night and opening a beautiful wine, it came true.

But that's the magic of wine: The flavors in the wine make you think about the flavors in the food. Our sense of taste, of course, it deeply tied to our sense of smell, and our sense of smell is deeply tied to memory, so it's no surprise that food and wine bring back memories even as they're creating new ones.

So if you have a bottle you've been saving for a special occasion, why not make that special occasion Feb. 28? And if you don't have a bottle like that stashed away, then buy one. It doesn't have to be super expensive, just a step up from what you normally drink can make a world of difference.

And of course, what is wine without friends? While we've loved the romantic Open That Bottle Nights we've had with only each other, some of our very best memories are the ones we shared with friends. Wine, after all – like love – is for sharing.