Kruzel: Buying wine does not need to be scary

By Hugh Kruzel

Are you overwhelmed by choice? Do you tremble when confronted by a wall of wine? Does your hair rise when someone screams “Riesling”? Are you pained by Primitivo?

Well, fear not, gentle reader. There is pattern, organization, and logic to selecting a bottle for self, friends, family or gifting on this celebration of souls and passing.

And, yes, there are “Halloween” appropriate wines that boast of Bull’s Blood, devils, and skeletons.

One can also be a bit more random and whimsical on Oct. 31 and eschew all conventions in a Rocky Horror inspired purchase of bizarre, bold and brash.

In a world of handheld devices I am sure you subscribe to “there’s an App for that” and know with some certainty that you can price compare, log purchases, and research reviews.

Building a list of “Go To” products can simplify life, but gosh, are you not adventurous? Did Trick or Treating not teach you as a teen to go to the wild side? And don’t we all know some ninny who blurts thinks like the following: “I only drink Veuve Clicquot.”

Come on Brad and Janet, take a chance!

It is so limiting in a world where selections are vast and there are thousands of sensory experiences. You are not the undead yet, doomed forever to wander the aisles of the liquor store. Nor are you a wisp, waif, or werewolf pouncing on a quick purchase and retreating to your lair; choose with care.

Wine, like art and music, is a highly subjective topic: love it, like it, okay, mediocre, terrible, yuck! The spectrum is broad and the respect you hold for a close colleague can drop like Enron stock if they show up with what you consider swill.

Sometimes it is fun to bring cheap and cheerful, but value is not necessarily tied to price. If your bottle is acceptable you can come out into the light. Your hosts will happily announce “They’re Here” if they grow to trust your ways and offerings.

If your theme is gruesome why not find a label with something ghastly and garish? Go florescent and Think Pink; there are many Roses and unnatural Zinfandels that truly look like transmission fluid or plasma. Reach blindly for oddities lurking on bottom shelves and discover delight.

Play a game as you shop called “Who can find the truly Ugliest Label.” Is there any wine from Transylvania or just Tasmania? This is a quest, and you are on the hunt for more than good juice. Everyone loves a story. South American Diablo Shiraz, Australian Fullglass Skulls, Okanagan Moon Curser; from growing grapes comes the mystery of wine.

Professing that there is life after death Ontario’s Grey County Coffin Ridge Boo-tique vineyards and winery cleverly murmurs of alchemy and shifting shadows. I just quiver when I read the word “ushered,” don’t you?

I will turn in my grave if you forsake wine for Crystal Head Vodka but I do acknowledge the Svengali-like mesmerizing attraction of Dan Aykroyd’s creation.

One can always confront a Zombie at the bar if cocktails are your thing; do you willingly dance The Time Warp my friend? And of course you can always go to Ron Bacardi for bats, or choose Lost Souls Chocolate Porter from Parallel 49 for something deep, dark, dense and delicious.

Pumpkin beers abound, however since none of these are birthed from Dionysus I think we can discount them from this report.

Go forth, young vampires, and ghouls and drink the blood of Jove.


Shutterstock photo.
Shutterstock photo.