Great Wine Quotes through the Centuries

Posted March 20, 2012 by Denise Gangnes
My recent visit to the California wine country inspired an investigation of wine quotes by historical figures and notable celebrities from the past. Sometimes it seems that's where all the truly great Wine Quotes came from, why should wine-related observations be any different? For ease of reading, they are organized into three major categories - feel free to skip to the one that most trips your trigger, or as oenologists might say, "pops your cork."

Wine Quotes
Wine Quotes
Famous Religious Winos
If you aren't familiar with Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer, I can assure you he was one awesome guy, a radical in his time for 1) translating the Bible into a more accessible language than Latin, 2) challenging the pope about what it takes to get into the Kingdom of Heaven, and 3) coming up with the infamous wine quote, "He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long." Not surprisingly, this famous quote has been attributed to others along the way but trust me, he was the first to concoct the clever sing-song saying.
Fans of champagne (count me in!) are probably aware that Dom Perignon is named after the monk who dedicated himself to refining the art of making sparkling wine. His effusive wine quote, "I am drinking the stars!" upon taking his first sip of bubbly was probably what started the rumor that he invented this marvelous drink, but it's a misnomer. However, it does remind us that those who come up with clever quotes are paving the path to fame and admiration... just a word to the wise.

Political Imbibers from History
We all know that Thomas Jefferson was a man of many interests, winemaking certainly among them. Jefferson's quote, "By making this wine vine known to the public, I have rendered my country as great a service as if I had enabled it to pay back the national debt" seems like a stretch, but I dare not question the validity of this wine quote without having tasted the grape. Fortunately, a winery that bears his name exists not far from his Monticello estate, so you can make your own judgment on your next trip to Virginia. At least if the wine is mediocre, the countryside is beautiful.

Another great U.S. statesman, Benjamin Franklin, offered the wine quote, "The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars." I would trust him on this one. Renowned as a man of science with many amazing inventions under his belt, Franklin certainly could be trusted not to lead us astray in matters of the grape.

Celebrity Lushes
If you're not familiar with the writings of the great Dorothy Parker, it's high time for an introduction. Her witty quotes could easily fill an entire column, but for our purposes today, the wine quote, "Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne" fits the bill. Dot had a reputation as a wickedly acerbic writer of the 20th century, observing society's foibles with a humor that would make Oscar Wilde chuckle in his grave.

Another famous fan of the vine well known for his dry comments was the incomparable William Claude Dukenfield. "Who?" you say? We know him as the lovable W.C. Fields, a man whose reputation for tipping a few was only surpassed by the belly busting banter that became his trademark. "What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" he would sputter, his bulbous nose achieving a remarkable hue of magenta.

Although I admit to having used his wine quote, "I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food" in my own kitchen a few times, I can safely say that wine and a good sense of humor are the only two things W.C. and I have in common. Lucky us!


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