Wine Is Bottled Poetry

Wine Is Bottled Poetry

Robert Louis Stevenson Quote



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Wine is bottled poetry; Robert Louis Stevenson quote on why a fine wine matures with age while fine poetry matures in your mind as you age

The Nuances Of Rhyme And Wine


The different characteristics of the rhyme and vine give them both great depth while their nuances age in different ways.

A fine wine improves as it ages, its taste changes, it becomes smoother and it just gets better and better. Decanting a fine wine gives it another mini age of maturity where just one hour can produce a different flavour to savour.

A great poem allows you to interpret a few different shades of the same words to give different meanings, what you understood about your favourite verse 20 years ago may well be different to how you view it now. It could be that the poem has matured in your mind or your mind storing the poem has matured enough to read it in a different light.

Beauty can be seen in both vine and verse, from the former it can be smelt, savoured and tasted while from the latter it can be recited, marvelled at, understood and inspired.

The above is my interpretation of the meaning of this great quote, but just what did Robert Louis Stevenson mean when he described wine as bottled poetry?

Well despite him being most famous for writing epic books like Treasure Island he was also responsible for writing over 300 poems so it is fair to say he was an authority on the subject of poetry.

For Stevenson to utter such a line as this I think it is fair to assume he was fond of the nectar of the vine. During his stay in California he is on record for visiting vineyards including the Schramsberg Winery in the Napa Valley, indeed these visitations have enabled the local tourist industry to erect a sign with the words 'wine is bottled poetry' being used as focal point to encourage wine tourism.

Commonalities Of Vine And Verse


A common trait of wine and poetry is they are both capable of invoking strong but differing opinions, some palates prefer red and others white while conversely some like to recite Keats while others prefer to read Wordsworth or Kipling.

Some even dare to immerse themselves in the pleasure of both at the same time with the stimulant in alcohol helping the reciting process flow more, let's say interestingly!

They bear resemblances to art with them both requiring creativity, knowledge, skill and experience to make something truly memorable.

A good poem will inspire whereas a great poem will reveal nuances that can inspire a myriad of different emotions.

A good wine will tease your sense of smell and its feel and taste can tantalise the palate and induce an emotional response that stimulates a feel good factor but a great wine delivers a long velvety gustatory sensation and will see your taste receptors inspiring a list of adjectives so long it will make you cherish the taste for a lifetime

You know when you have a good wine because you can't stop looking at the bottle and re-reading the label, you will savour every last drop and you will be back at your local winery looking to top up with a few bottles while stocks last.

If you know your favourite poem you will have harboured memories of how it inspired you so it gives you a feel good factor to re-read it, clever poets leave lines or singular words open to interpretation and it is these subtle ways of reading the same lines but in a slightly different shade that is so appealing to the lovers of poetry.

We will never know for sure the exact meaning Robert Louis Stevenson intended for the quote 'Wine is bottled poetry' but one thing is for sure there have been a few glasses of smooth reds being raised while discussing the whys and wherefores behind his thinking to pen this fantastic quote.

Michael Joseph




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