So how do you cope with an economy that is still quite a ways away from a real rebound and a job market that's also in the toilet? Well, you certainly don't stop drinking; you just drink cheaper booze.
That's what's happening with wine, at least, according to an AP story that was in Friday's Sun-Times.
"More wine could be consumed globally this year, thanks to crisis-fueled demand for cheaper or discounted tipples, particularly in the United States," the story said. ("Tipples" is late 15-century in origin, and is another word for a drink, in case you are unfamiliar with it, as I was.). The U.S., in fact, is second only to France in total consumption of wine.
Federico Castellucci, of the International Organization of Vine and Wine, told the AP that "people who want to keep drinking are buying cheaper wines," such as Charles Shaw, aka "Two-Buck Chuck." But today's cheap wines aren't your father's or grandfather's cheap wines. Because of improved technology, today's cheaper wines are much more palatable than they were 20 years ago, Castellucci said.
And while he warns of the harm winemakers could do to their marketplace if they discount too much, Castellucci ardently believes that the industry should nurture novice wine drinkers and those who have not grown up with a wine culture, because soon enough they'll be looking to spend more than $3 on a bottle of wine.
"In classical music, you don't start with Wagner, you start with Boccherini," he said, referring to the 18th-century Italian composer and cellist. "It's the same with wine. We start with very simple, gentle wines, after they go up in scale."
That's a fine was of expressing the challenge that's in front of winemakers and the evolution of a wine drinker, but could anyone really look forward to drinking the equivalent of a five-hour opera?