wineness You’ve been waiting for decades for someone to come along and tell you that spending all that money on wine is a good thing. And behold, your humble messenger: I bring you tidings of great joy. I was reading a financial advice column not long ago that really came down hard on wine enthusiasts. Forget a couple bottles a week, forget anything over ten bucks, and forget about those pricy by-the-glass schemes in restaurants. True enough, some of us do spend hundreds, even thousands a year, on grapes. But I tossed that paper into the recycle bin and thought, “This calls for a toast.”  I called “quality of life” in defense of my defiance of such prudence. Don’t get the wrong idea: I haven’t sold enough oodles of my doodles to have a wine cellar, a vintages collection, or a bottle over twenty bucks more than once a year.  Still, I could certainly save if I always went Barefoot or never drank away from home. But I care about wine and food culture. It’s fun to bottle your own wine and it makes economic sense. But I care about this ancient art of wine, a tradition that spans several millennia. Vineyards are expensive, and people take big risks to bottle poetry and bring it to my table. Selection, variety, international options, heritage and innovation, this is what I support whenever I buy a glass of wine or take a few new varieties home with me. Some twenty years ago, I was at a party. A man I just met was talking about his latest couture purchase and ever blunt, I barked, “I would never spend two hundred on pants.” I’ve never forgotten his unapologetic and reasoned response. “I care about creativity, young designers, and art, so I support those industries,” he told me. It is important to vote with our dollars, to support the things we care about. Who else will? Instead of feeling guilty for falling for the high price of a book or a bottle, what if we became even more generous in support and endorsement? Lip service and facebook shares are terrific, but the people who produce the content of life that concerns us need the financial support of their advocates. Too many bistros bursting with culinary creativity shut down because we decided to be wise and stay home. Wine is important. Some like to guzzle whatever’s in front of them instead, some like to sip slower and savour with fish, and some hate the stuff and drink soda. To each their own.  For me, wine is about history, mystery, earth, family, romance, celebration, inspiration, and medicine. So it occupies a central place at my table. It’s empowering to me to know that, in my small way, I help the LCBO stay stocked in Chilean imports and promote the development of Niagara wines. I was born between those vineyards, after all. It is, of course, the same with art. So many people love art. Passionately. They go to galleries, museums, openings, and parties, but never buy anything. Buy something! Don’t leave it to rich collectors or banks. Every time you buy art you are supporting the arts. Think of it as a donation to the arts. You could give money to the opera company or the art gallery when they call. Or, you could buy tickets and go. The latter is a win win win: you win, the establishment wins, and the creators win.  Whenever I meet a client who says, “Oh, I wish I was an artist, I just love and value creativity!” I tell him, “The customer is far more important than the artist.” Buying art helps keep creativity afloat. You can feel good about your purchase because it targets the kind of art you respond to precisely. It gives you something you love, but it also buys supplies, rent, food – and wine! – for the artist. Treating yourself to this kind of indulgence has a profound value for many. What if the gifts still left undone reflected what you care about most? Maybe no one wants another tacky Cosby sweater (especially this year) or some shiny crap you loathe but buy at the last minute. Forget that. That’s where the real waste lies, and the holidays can do a whole lot of financial damage in one fell swoop. If you care about wine and art, then give those gifts. Responding to these highest callings of culture is a value far beyond the price sticker. Lorette in MexicoLorette C. Luzajic is an artist and writer with roots in southern Ontario’s wine country soil. Native to Niagara, at home in Toronto, her work is inspired by wine, cheese, and bleak post-apocalyptic literature. Visit her at