Wine and Golf

The impending publication of a yet another wine book has set me thinking of the similarities between wine and golf. Bear with me as there are similarities and I don’t think it’s just a personal view.

I’ve been a keen golfer all my life (well, I am a Scot) and have acquired quite a collection of golf books over the years. Here’s similarity number one – how many wine lovers have a collection of wine books lining their shelves? Many I suspect. More than a few of these golf books have lots of great pictures of famous golf courses or particularly stunning holes. It’s the publication in November of a wine book with lots of nice pictures of vineyards and other wine related items that set me thinking of the similarities. The book, called Wine Across America was highlighted in the California supplement to this month’s Decanter magazine. It’s author Charles O’Rear was a photographer for National Geographic Magazine for 25 years and has specialised in wine photography since the late 70’s.

Similarity number 2 I suggest is the love of the outdoors that wine and golf lovers both have as encapsulated in the photos in the book. I absolutely love being out on a golf course hearing nothing much else but the sound of bird song. Many of us wine lovers get a thrill from visiting a vineyard, inspecting the vines and generally communing with nature. The two pictures with this post were from a trip last year to Tuscany just before harvest time. They are taken at Castello di Verrazzano and I only wish the sun had been shining that day.

For the third connection I’d focus on the people. There are some real characters in both spheres. Names that immediately spring to mind are Randall Grahm from the US and Chester d’Arenberg from Australia. With golf it could be John Daly and Greg Norman.

My final connection would be to do with the importance of the people around you. I can play golf on my own and I can drink wine on my own also but both are boring. Play golf with, or taste wine with, the right people and it’s heavenly. Both are for sociable people. However I will draw the line at drinking wine when I get off the golf course - beer/lager is the only drink then!

If I stretched this analogy a bit further I’d think of connections such as the current focus in both spheres on things being natural - the golf course that gets built with minimal impact on the natural environment and the vigneron who makes his wine with as few chemicals as possible. But I’m going to stop now, open a bottle of wine, get one of my golf books out and drool over the pictures and hope I get given a copy of Wine across America by my family.

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