Balance of Epicureanism

epicurean.bmpThe word ‘epicurean’ is frequently used in reference to wine, and I suspect seldom fully understood. At the height of classical antiquity, Epicurus established his Garden School on the outskirts of Athens and it was quite different from the Platonists, the Stoics or the Pythagoreans, in that the students lived at the school. Central to the school was their kitchen-garden off of which the entire community subsisted.

It is often thought that to be epicurean is to be hedonistic. But in fact, the truth is quite the contrary. In living off of the garden epicureans stressed that people should only take as much as they need and be grateful for everything they had, and gluttony was seen as the highest form of ingratitude. Appreciate of wine and nature was lorded but to be drunk or destructive was frowned upon.

Gardening was seen as central, because there is so much in maintaining a garden that relates to the fundamental laws of a balanced life: patience, care, cultivation and replenishment. It was thought that a man cannot have a full life if he is not connected to the earth. Especially in the past decade we have seen the disastrous effects of what can happen when we do not put effort back into the earth.

Epicurus stressed that men should seek the maximum enjoyment from the smallest pleasure. That life should not be boastful, and that people should seek pleasure in friendship, and that friendship should be enjoyed by sharing pleasure: , conversation and wine. Boredom is ingratitude for the moment, and if one has good company and good wine, a moment should never be left in wanting more.

However, to be a good friend with good conversation requires one to cultivate themselves (have a fertile mind) through being well read and deep thinking. Of course the more friendships one has the more thoughtful and loquacious they will be. And an appreciation of wine requires you to sit with the wine, and be in the moment (quite the opposite of Tequila shots at the bar… although, there’s a time and a place for that too.)

This year, the buzz word around Napa has been ‘sustainability‘ and increasingly, in the cultivation of grapes people have been caring for the environment more and more.

There is no doubt then that an increase in vineyards due to increased wine consumption will benefit the environment by helping combat the build up of greenhouse gases; that spending more time with friends will improve your time and that drinking red wine will give you a longer life.

Drinking wine is not only an investment in a vineyard, its an investment in the earth, a stake in your own future and an opportunity to get to know more about yourself and those who are close to you.

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Posted in Culture, Lifestyle, Passion, Sustainable | 2 Comments »

  • Greg

    I went to Darioush today and it blew me away. Unbelievable ambiance, very friendly people, and gorgeous scenery. $20 for their tasting, but it was worth it. Their ’04 Cabernet is probably the best wine I’ve tasted so far in my relatively short wine life experience. Many more to come though… we gotta start the world tour soon man.

  • Greg

    I went to Darioush today and it blew me away. Unbelievable ambiance, very friendly people, and gorgeous scenery. $20 for their tasting, but it was worth it. Their ’04 Cabernet is probably the best wine I’ve tasted so far in my relatively short wine life experience. Many more to come though… we gotta start the world tour soon man.

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