Saturday, August 29, 2015

Principles of Enjoying Wine at Family Camp

Scattered around the United States are hundreds of generally wonderful establishments called "family camps".  For those uninitiated, these are sessions, lasting typically from several days to a week in length, where families come together with other families for activities and meals in an interesting, attractive, usually rustic environment.  Sometimes they are sponsored by YMCA or YWCA, sometimes by private camps, sometimes by universities or nature centers.


We've enjoyed a couple of varieties of family camps over the years, and have been regular attendees for over 30 years at a singular camp based in the Berkshires, Massachusetts.  Our four grown children make regular pilgrimages back.

Family camps sometimes welcome wine, and sometimes frown upon it.  As both a wine and a family camp aficionado, I thought I would offer here a few general principles with respect to wine at family camp:

Discretion is ALWAYS welcome.  There are children everywhere; and their parents will sport all different perspectives on alcohol.  My coffee mug is opaque, thermal and ubiquitous (it's a "Bubba" brand).  It's with me from morning to night.  Folks wonder how I can  drink so much coffee all day and night and still sleep!  (The truth is, sometimes, especially late in the day, my coffee mug isn't sporting coffee.)

It is not about the quality or quantity of the wine, it is about the company.  Pinot schmino, cabernet schnabernet.  Are these good people and are you enjoying the conversation?  There's a time for quality and a time for simple joy.

It's about the setting, not about the stemware.  C'mon - a cheap cab from a plastic cup while overlooking some of the most spectacular scenery you've ever seen can beat even a 94 point cab, served in a Riedel in a busy midtown restaurant.

It's definitely not about the quantity.  Many family camps separate sleeping from rest areas by quite some yardage.  At 3:40a.m., that distance can seem infinite as you dodge trees and raccoons.  You may want to pass on that last glass of wine before bed and simply enjoy the conversation.

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