Wednesday, 20 April 2016 00:00

Gimme a Shot of Cabernet Por Favor | I'm No Longer the Only Latino in the Tasting Room

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I’ve mentioned before that one of my vices is alcohol, specifically wine. And yes, people in wine shops are not always delighted to see me.

In any case, I’ve also mentioned that my wife and I like to go wine-tasting, which is about as “boogee” (as Cousin #1 would say) as it gets. I mean, it’s not exactly keeping it real in the barrio to say things like, “The tannins on this zinfandel give way to notes of chocolate.”

But as I‘ve also stated, a person can drive himself insane by measuring every decision or preference against the ever-shifting and amorphous concept of “authenticity.”

So I’m not going to apologize for the fact that we like zipping through the California countryside and sampling the vineyards’ vino.

When we first started doing this, my wife and I were among the few Gen Xers who showed up in the tasting room. Lately, however, we’ve noticed that more people are our age. Perhaps it is a truism that individuals develop more sophisticated palates and upscale tastes as they get older. Or maybe my peers have realized how depressing keggers are when you’re pushing forty.

Regardless, I’ve also noticed that I’m no longer the sole Latino at such functions. In the past, the only Latinos I ever saw were the laborers in the fields. Indeed, this agricultural industry is one of the top employers of Latinos, and several Latinos have worked their way up to management or even ownership positions — something highly rare in corporate America.

In the tasting room, however, it’s still been mostly white people — at least until lately. So what should I make, if anything, of the observation that more Latinos are joining me in swirling around a glass of syrah?

It’s probably nothing more profound than the fact that, even in these horrific economic times, the demographic shift underway in America continues. And it won’t be long before every aspect of upscale U.S. culture — from country clubs to executive boardrooms — gets an ethnic makeover. It is inevitable.

However, it also means that whenever Hollywood gets around to remaking Sideways (every movie get remade, sooner or later), they will probably replace Paul Giamatti with someone who is, shall we say, a little swarthier.

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