Little Spouse On The Prairie: Uncorked

Oct 14, 2018

All the talk at High Plains Public Radio about the upcoming wine club launch has gotten me thinking about my limited experience with choosing wines.  Joel isn’t much of a drinker.  Truth be told, neither am I.  I may be a far cry from a sommelier, but recently, I learned that I can drink Joel right under the table.  

Joel and I have been married for eight years next month (happy anniversary, honey), and we dated for a couple of years prior to that.  During that time, I hadn’t seen Joel take even one drink of an alcoholic beverage.

So, I had no idea that Joel was such a lightweight until we travelled to a bed and breakfast to celebrate last year’s anniversary.  The date happened to correspond with a wine tasting event hosted by the proprietors of the beautiful inn.  Because it was included in the price of our stay, we decided to participate. 

We sat down amongst people who clearly knew a lot more about wine than we did.  Of course, that’s not saying much, since prior to this experience, we had only used the word “aroma” to describe the smell of recently vacated restrooms.  I’m not even going to go into what we thought a “bunghole” was.   

The other couples in the room sniffed their white wine, pinkies held out. 

One husband said, “I’m getting citrus with a secondary wafting of stone fruit.” His wife replied, “Obviously! My only question is whether the zephyr nectarines were fully tree ripened.” Another lady piped up, “I so wish this hadn’t been fermented in stainless steel.”

Joel’s a bit competitive, so he gave it a go at first. He took a big sip of some dark red wine and said, in a loud voice, “Does anyone else think this cabernet needs more cab?” When he tried the next sample, he said, “You call this merlot? If you ask me, I think it’s more like mer-high.”  And these astute comments were made after he’d had a mere two sips.

This continued for some time, and Joel soon concluded that the longer we tasted, the better the wines were getting. I like light, fruity flavors, and I was amused by the names of the wines, which included puns. “Quite a Pear” tasted like, you guessed it, pears. Rhubarbara Ann reminded me of the strawberry-rhubarb pies my mother used to make.  “Plum Crazy” and “Give a Fig” were a couple of others. 

Finished tasting, I was ready to enjoy my delicious meal, but Joel was suddenly rather green.  He thought maybe he had gotten some kind of food poisoning from the hors-d'oeuvres.  I said I thought this was unlikely since he had been known to scrape the mold off of leftovers before eating them cold, without stomach issues.  I asked if, perhaps, since he’s not used to drinking wine, he might be slightly tipsy.  He scoffed at this idea, remarking that the wines he had tried were fruity, and most likely had very low alcohol content.  No, he assured me, this was some kind of bug that was making him slightly dizzy, warm across the shoulders, a bit nauseated, and totally exhausted. 

He picked at his steak (a real Joel anomaly), and after dinner, an excused himself to our room.  I finished up my dessert – then his - and followed him up, hoping to watch the romantic comedy we had missed in theaters. 

Poor Joel was passed out on the bed, snoring loudly.  Since it was still early, I thought maybe a half hour nap would revive him.  I assumed he was planning to wake up soon since he had forgotten to put his anti-snoring strip across his nose and he still had his shoes on.  But after a couple of hours of reading with my earplugs in, I popped some popcorn, watched the romantic comedy, and drank a couple of Joel’s Dr. Peppers.  Luckily, Joel’s “bug” was cured by morning, with just a residual headache to contend with.  I never caught it, so it must not have been very contagious. 

Check out previous episodes at and on Twitter at SpouseOnThePrairie@ValerieKuchera. Be sure and tune in next week.