Monday, August 19, 2013



Wiki tells that on August 19 the people of ancient Rome and its surrounding rural area celebrated Vinalia, one of two annual wine festivals.

From Ancient history,
April 23, according to the William Smith Dictionary, on Lacus Curtius, was the urban Roman wine festival, Vinalia urbana, at which occasion wine casks were first opened and tasted, with a libation poured to Jupiter. Not just Rome, but all of Latium celebrated the 2nd wine festival, the Vinalia rustica on August 19, when the flamen dialis offered lambs to Jupiter and then opened the vintage for drinking.
I'm not much of a wine drinker myself, most of the dry varieties tend to leave me with stomach pains, red wines give me a nasty headache. A mild semi- sweet Moscato or Liebfraumilch is about my limit. Still, to stay in tune with Vinalia and Music Monday, a couple of wine songs and a quote from a favourite philosopher:

First, Days of Wine and Roses composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, from a 1962 film of the same name. A less well-known tidbit: the song's lyrics were derived from a poem by English poet and novelist Ernest Dowson - a tragic guy, worthy of a blog post all to himself, died aged 32 of alcoholism. His poem Vitae Summa Brevis, in turn is an echo of another man's words - from ancient Rome: "The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long" –Horace.

Vitae Summa Brevis by Ernest Dowson

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

The song, sung by the incomparable Ella:

Then there's Red Red Wine - written and sung here by Neil Diamond - the original version:

Finally, from Edward Fitzgerald's translation of of The Rubaiyat some of Omar Khayyám's words:
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour--Well,
I wonder often what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell.

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and - sans End!


mike said...

"The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long" –Horace.
I don't know about you, Twilight, but my life has seemed like forever...but now that I'm much older, it's moving at warp speed and I can almost "see" the last stop ahead, just around the bend.

Your post brings Rudolph Steiner and his biodynamic farming practices (anthroposophy) to the world of viticulture. Biodynamic farming is huge in Europe and is slowly gaining acceptance in the USA, primarily in organic wine production. Biodynamic wine production is much more than simply producing organic wine:

I don't typically imbibe, but I might have a glass of wine while dining out. I have friends that would feel naked without their bottle of wine (or two) over a meal at home or out. I'll email a couple of my vino buddies and let them know that today is Vinalia and to celebrate more heartily than normal. Maybe I'll defrost a can of frozen grape juice concentrate and indulge today!

Many years ago, just at the start of microbreweries here in the USA, I made my own home-brews and enjoyed the process as much as the drinking. One of my favorites that I should probably resurrect here in the enduring heat of the deep south is fermented ginger ale. True ginger ale has a lower alcohol content of around 2% and is intended for consuming while playing long rounds of croquet or some-such in the heat of summer.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I'm trying not to look around that final bend in the road just yet. :-) Time does seem to have speeded up though, yes, and the years stretch back, and back and I sometimes wonder, "Was that really me?"

The husband enjoys his glass of red wine - Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfadel seem to be his favourites....i couldn't touch the stuff though - for which he's truly thankful! (Scotch (whisky) is my tipple of choice - inherited from my mother...via her the circulation problem mentioned in the previous post comment!)

Mmmm - fermented ginger ale - I think I'd enjoy that. The thought lifted a memory from the mental data bank: long ago, late 1950s I was having a cold ginger beer with a boyfriend (my first love, to be exact) in an old fashioned country pub in rural Yorkshire near the hotel where I worked at the time. I can still see and feel the scrubbed whitewood table tops and the smell of the place, and the dark coolness in the hot (for England) afternoon, and the bite of that ginger beer. Funny how some moments stick so clearly in the memory for countless years, yet others disappear isn't it?

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

Raising a glass to both of you in honor of the Day and good wishes for the last leg of the journey to be a long and pleasant one for us all:)


Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Thank you kindly, Sonny!
All I have to hand to raise to you right now is a cup of tea (Twinings English Breakfast - not great but it'll do). :-)
May all of our last laps be long ones!

James Higham said...

Oh good, I've just scoffed some of that.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ Cheers!

Rossa said...

Reminds me of the old joke. "I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food!" W C Fields.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~ LOL! Yes - in fact I had that very quote in the sidebar on the day I published this post. :-)
Two minds etc.....