Tis the season to be imbibing. (Responsibly, of course). As you sip one of your favorite vintages, or saunter up to the saloon for a cocktail, you might pause and consider: This is the best of times for booze. The days of Schlitz or a bad blush wine — remember White Zin? — are long past. Whether it’s an artisanal Vermont ale, an offbeat French appellation, or a concoction whipped up by a new breed of bartender in New York and Boston, wine and spirits have rarely seen better days. Sure, it might have been fun to toss ’em back in the Jazz Age or take in a three-martini lunch, Don Draper style,. but, dear drinker, your time is now.
Wine drinkers in particular have reason to rejoice, as Paul Lukacs writes in his informative new book, “Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures.” The early 21st century is a golden age for wine. “Quality used to solely come from select European regions, but it now can be found all over the world. Good wine is available at every price level, enabling people up and down the economic ladder to enjoy it.” Tastes may vary—drinking wine is, after all, a very subjective experience — but nowadays decent, drinkable, chemically sound wines are the rule, not the exception.