If I never hear the word hipster again, it will be only too soon. Disliking the whole idea of hipsters doesn't in the least stem in me from the fact that I am possibly incapable of the patience needed to grow such a long beard or from the physical impossibility of wearing such crotch-restricting trousers. But trend du jour it is and everyone wants in. Here then are a few ways to be hipster around wines and at wine soirées.
1. If you are a winemaker, speak at length about "terroir" and refer to your vineyard as your god-gifted patch of dirt. Grab the dirt as often as you can; have shiny nails but make sure they carry the right amount of muck underneath, nothing repulsive but just enough to show you are one degree short of being a tree-hugger. There is nothing as unique as nature, except your special acid-washed slim-fit trousers; let both facts be known.
2. Small winemakers should and can never overuse the word "boutique". And if you talk about global warming you have it all wrong; climate change is where it's at. Any discrepancy or anomaly that people find in your wines can be put down to being boutique or the climate change. You can drop the word "indigenous" but be careful lest they think you are an intellectual types posing as a hipster. Always talk about the larger propaganda of the commercial winemakers, talk about how the independent winemaker's spirit is being thwarted and stifled. Steer clear of any talks of total acidity and residual sugar in the wine.
3. Don't worry if you are the big winemaker in the region; speak about how tough it is to preserve history and tradition with the indie types trying to make runaway wines that don't represent the integrity of the region. Hold forth on how tough it is to survive with the ever-falling Euro and competition from the newer markets. And "sustainability", use that word a lot, fiscal or environmental, it is a lovely word and if you can say it without slurring mid-speech, then clearly you have the advantage at the gathering.
4. In case you are not a winemaker but say a writer, then being hipster is easier. When at a tasting, never comment out loud. Shake your head a lot, mostly in disgust, but without uttering a word. Words are bad; head nods are mysterious and hence better; a slight narrowing of the brows to create what could one day grow into a full-fledged frown is the kind of expression that only the masters can invoke voluntarily. In case you have a scoring chart, make it so encrypted that not even you can decipher it later. With wines, ambiguity is the mother of critic.
5. Never let anyone inveigle you into believing that the wines, yours or otherwise, are good. Perfection is boring; instead seek out complaints and then show how you have made your peace with them. Compassion, compromise, and any-other-word-for-acceptance-that-possibly-begins-with-a-"C" are the three crucial cruces of being a hipster.
6. The right amount of care is the fine balance. Care anymore and you are mainstream, any lesser and you are not serious enough. Get that balance right and hipster clothing brands will be flying their gear over to you to be their worldwide spokesperson. Receive it, but obviously don't care too much about wearing it straightaway.
7. Throw mood fits. Consistency is for those who can't be multifaceted. So like oak when it is in your wines but hate it in others. Always have a strong opinion about things but time and again, backtrack and do a turncoat. Why or how is all down to the complex art of flipping a coin.
8. Never be satisfied with the glassware. Or decanters. They should always have some residual smell that will impede your true enjoyment of the wine and in the one-off case a glass is neutral to the nose, talk about how the shape is utterly non-conducive to the tertiary notes of the wine which will consequently die somewhere in the third strata before even making it to the nose.
9. Have a cold when you go for a tasting, so that way in case you can't tell the oxidised or the corked bottles, you will have a genuine excuse. And always abhor medicines. Stick to odd home remedies that you picked up from an Arctic tribe (or an Aboriginal one, they are a cooler trend du jour) during your time there. All such remedies must involve one ingredient that your host will never possess. My favourite is the dried roots of a plant that never existed but has a very convincing Latin name that rhymes with nothing.
10. Finally, if you want to be a true wine-consuming hipster, always make a lot of noise about the formality and make sure you break the dress code. If it says formals were torn jeans, and if it doesn't mention anything, wear a bow tie. But always remember it's not as much about being over or under dressed as it is about standing out, maybe even sticking out.
So now that you have a basic guide to being a wine hipster get prepped and wait for the next invite to come by. Once you have impressed everybody there, life should be one long dinner party for you with course after course of good food and wine to come your way. Till the next trend comes along and you have to upgrade your game all over… Did someone mention "lumber-sexual"?