Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rules to Live By

Brian Croser, well known Australian viticulturalist and protege of Len Evans, recently gave a short speech at the Adelaide University Wine Club in which he reminisced about the great man. Most notable was his listing of Evans’ Theory of capacity, which is quoted below.

Len made his contribution to the academic understanding of wine through the 10 points of his Theory of Capacity which I will enunciate in his memory,

  • There is an awful lot of wine in the world, but there is also a lot of awful wine.
  • No sensible person drinks to excess, therefore any one person can only drink a certain amount in a lifetime.
  • There are countless flavours, nuances, shades of wine; endless varieties, regions, styles. You have neither the time nor the capacity to try them all.
  • To make the most of the time left to you, you must start by calculating your future capacity. One bottle a day is 365 bottles a year. If your life expectancy is another 30 years there are only 10,000-odd bottles ahead of you.
  • People who say “You can’t drink the good stuff all of the time” are talking rubbish. You must drink good stuff all the time. Every time you drink a bottle of inferior wine, it’s like smashing a superior bottle against the wall. The pleasure is lost forever - you can’t get that bottle back.
  • There are people who build up huge cellars, most of which they have no hope of drinking. They are foolish in overestimating their capacity but they err on the right side and their friends love them.
  • There are also people who don’t want to drink good wine and are happy with the cheapies. I forgive them. There are others who are content with beer and spirits. I can’t worry about everybody.
  • Wine is not meant to be enjoyed for its own sake; it is the key to love and laughter with friends, to the enjoyment of food, beauty and humour and art and music. Its rewards are far beyond its cost.
  • What part is wine of your life? Ten percent? Ergo, 10 percent of your income should be spent on wine.
  • These principles should be applied to other phases of life. A disciple kissed a beautiful young lady and she demurred. He was aghast and said, “Don’t get the wrong idea. I’ve worked out I can only make love another 1343 times. I’m bloody sure I’m not wasting one on you.”

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