Once upon a time in America, only the sophisticated and the well traveled knew anything much about wine, anything more than red versus white. People drank champagne at weddings or bar mitzvahs, some knew that champagne came from a region bearing that name; many had no clue champagne was wine. That was decades ago.
In the baby boom and post-baby boom period, a search for the finer things took hold - in many cases, they were the finer elements of ancestral European culture. As a response to this changing demographic, American vintners expanded. Not just in California, but in at least thirteen other states, cultivation of grapes and wine production, previously a cottage industry, ripened into big business.
By the time baby boomers had children of their own - the so-called "echo boomers" - most of us knew that Valpolicella was an important and delicious wine (a few of us even knew what region of Italy it was); that a Claret is a red Bordeaux; that White Zinfandel is pretty icky stuff; that Pinot Grigio is a great wine to drink while claiming you're on a diet; and that countries like South Africa, Chile, and Australia each have numerous vintners of high quality.
As we acquired our smattering of Bacchanalian sophistication, we asked and we challenged the rules. What wines can be - or "should be" - consumed with which food groups? Aqua Maestro is not a wine adviser, although many of us dabble in it recreationally, but it is safe to say that a two-part consensus exists concerning the compatibility of wine and foods:
And so is with fine waters.
We are (thankfully) in a more health-conscious mode of living than perhaps ever before. We think in terms of our weight, diet, energy level, and general appearance. We enjoy both aerobic activities and physical games and pastimes. Part of this new lifestyle of health and longevity is fresh attention on the most important thing that goes into our body besides air: WATER.
What is old is new again. Centuries of ancestors sought and jealously protected mineral water treasures; there were warriors who presided over coveted springs, including Hannibal, who is credited with the original Perrier spring.Around the world today, people are rediscovering the amazing taste satisfaction and health implications of great waters.
Fine waters have entered an era where their popularity - for all the right reasons, new and old - will rival and probably surpass the wine renaissance of the late-20th Century.