So you just bought yourself an all-inclusive, one week vacation somewhere down south. Excited, you pack the few things surely needed and think you are ready to go; but being a wine connoisseur a thought still manages to creep in – ‘should I bring along some wine from my cellar or should I take a break from it and give my palate a rest?’ You decide against it and assure yourself that there should be a satisfactory number of different cocktails, mixed drinks and beers + wine will also be available if craved – after-all, both the red and the white wines were quite palatable last time.
Day 1 and 2 – The first two days go as imagined: filled with walks on the beach, dips in the sea and an extravaganza of cocktails including Pina Colada, Dirty Monkey, Mama Juana, Sunset on the Beach, Margarita and the newly discovered creamy Coco-Loco that is just too good. At buffet dinners, choices of alcoholic beverages are vino blanco, vino tinto or cerveza (white, red wines or beer) and while slightly warmer than your liking, beer seems to do the job.
Day 3 – Solving the temperature problem with a bit of ice, beer becomes the favorite drink of the day as its non-sweet taste complements the beach-grilled chicken and pork for lunch. Later afternoon sets in and while contempt, you realize that you want something a little more acidic and eventful and so you get yourself the first glass of white wine.
Quickly assessing it as un-aromatic, creamy, with checked acidity, extra-dry/dry; you give it 84 pts and yet deem this ‘NOTHING SPECIAL’ wine quite pleasant and satisfying; you get another glass. Thinking it must be a chardonnay, you ask to examine the bottle, but are unable to get neither an answer nor any other information regarding the year or country of make – perhaps little stumped, yet unsurprised, you discover a whole new meaning of ‘mass production for mass consumption’.
You go for a déjà-vu buffet dinner and ask for a glass of red wine, thinking it will be of similar quality to the white i.e. ‘NOTHING SPECIAL’ yet satisfying. First sip tells you that this medium, off-dry, uneventful red, barely scoring 80 pts, will just not do it, but you take a second sip to give it another chance and for reassurance. You request a white to get the taste off your tongue and continue with it for the remainder of the evening.
Day 4 – Another beautiful day passes, with highlight of the day being a two hour beach walk checking out neighboring resorts. This time, for dinner you go to an Italian restaurant, one of 6-7 themed restaurants spread around the resort, and decide to order a bottle of red to fill the expanding void. Glancing through the list, you’re surprised to see the prices hovering less than two fold of what the same wine would cost at the LCBO. The Spanish dominated selection pleases you and you choose a Rioja because it is familiar to you and because it is the cheapest one on the list justifying purchase of wine at an all-inclusive resort.
The wine arrives and taking a whiff, followed by a first sip transports you into a state of bliss. You go on with your dinner, but each time you take a sip, you think to yourself ‘how is it that this 87 pt wine is able to more than just satisfy you?’, an experience seldomly achievable at home by a wine of this caliber.
Days 5 to 7 – You do more of the same for the rest of your stay – sun soaking, swimming, over-indulging on food and trying some more cocktails and mixed drinks. The evenings you fill with dinners and no longer think twice to buy the same bottle of red that is surely due to please you. As you request your wines, you start noticing something odd about staff’s interactions with you. Is it perhaps that they don’t understand why someone would be spending more than 10% of their monthly income on a bottle of wine, when they could have another red at no extra charge? Being in their shoes at an early part of your life, you realize how absurd you’ve become and can sympathize with them, but go along your intentions none-the-less.
On a way back, you think of the old proverb ‘bringing wood into forest’ and question if the idea of bringing alcohol into an all-inclusive resort is really all that outrageous. Thinking ahead to the next resort vacation, you add ‘bring wine, corkscrew, stopper and pump set’ to your list of things to bring next time.