Pleasure is a very tricky thing to discuss because we haven’t the clearest sense of what it is. Too often our understanding stems from a negative judgement. This judgement is connected to a misunderstanding. We conflate pleasure with extreme hedonism. Hedonism is a philosophy which seeks pleasure and avoids pain, extreme hedonism emphasizes pleasure above all else and seeks to avoid pain at all cost.
Epicurus was a Greek philosopher and hedonist who believed, “our sensations and preconceptions and our feelings are the standards of truth”. His focus was on what makes us happy.
His hedonism was a measured and thoughtful exploration of pleasure. One that required people to have attainable and sustainable pleasures whose absence does not result in pain. That particular attachment to desire is called addiction which is the negation of pleasure.
When tasting wine we, like Epicurus, use our sensations and feelings as a way to learn about and experience the wine. We learn to connect to the physical sensations wine produces in us with ideas and images and articulate them.
And so when we talk about wine and pleasure, it is why I emphasize being tipsy as opposed to drunk. Tipsy is a heightened state. When you’re drunk, you’re not enhanced you are trashed. You are no longer able to delight in the experience because too you’re too busy vomiting or trying not to vomit.
By carefully considering our sensations and learning to articulate and share those perceptions with like minded pleasure seekers we avoid the pitfalls of overindulgence by using pleasure as a way to develop connection to our ourselves, people and the world around us.
Below please find a few ideas on pleasure as well as some helpful tips to enhance your wine pleasure.
In the next post we will talk about enjoying wine the Spanish way.
What Pleasure Is
- Saying yes to something you enjoy
- Sharing with friends
- Enjoying on your own
What Pleasure Isn´t
- Rocking your world, bowling you over or any such highly intense state
Pleasure and the wine experience
The very way we drink (and eat) can enhance or detract from our pleasure. Always take a moment to appreciate the wine, admire it´s color, smell it and then drink. It is almost exactly the same as the tasting process. If you are with friends share your impressions and make a toast! Also do add music, a candle, or just revel in silence.
Wine Pleasure Dos and Don´ts
- Sit down
- Be open and enthusiastic
- Silence or music (not TV)
- Take time (even if it is just 10 min)
- Notice the color
- Notice the smell
- Notice the taste
- Come in with high expectations
- Stand (unless at a bar)
- Have any static noise in the background
- Be in a hurry