Let’s Wine Down: Wine night is a cultural phenomenon that brings people together

(Ted Wint | Daily Trojan)

“Send me a calendar invite.” Like most things in college, the weekly tradition of wine nights started on a whim between my friends at the start of this semester. Now, after drinking most of Trader Joe’s wine selection and then some, it amazes me how much wine night has become a staple in our college lives and a point of relief at the intersection of our hectic weekly schedules. 

The “work hard, play harder” mentality seems to be something that most USC students subscribe to, yet the playing part can also be work in and of itself, which defeats the whole purpose. Wine nights can bring the same, if not more, satisfaction without the stress or the expectation that every social interaction be extraordinary. The low commitment of a bottle of wine shared among two to three friends can be all we need to balance out the barrage that is academics, and the best part is that we can do it in the comfort of our home with minimal clean-up. 

The occasions in which most of us drink wine with our friends vary across campus. For this reason, do not let anyone stop you from drinking wine because they deem it invalid. Oozing over hot, perhaps not overly smart, men from “The Bachelorette” with your girlfriends with wine? Valid! Need to get something off your chest with friends and wine is the tool to help you do it? Valid! Grieving a recent break-up and drinking wine with friends to heal? Valid! Have no reason other than just wanting to drink wine with friends? Valid! As long as you’re drinking responsibly and everyone is on board, you do not need to justify wine night to anyone. 

Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when planning a wine night:

Create a calendar invite (especially if this is a weekly thing) or a group chat for friends who are invited. 

Don’t feel obligated to invite people who you don’t 100% want to be there. Wine night is a “you” space (and if you’re not the host, ask before inviting anyone).

If more than two people are participating, it’s probably a good idea to get a selection of white wine and red wine to accommodate people’s preferences.

Drink white wines before red wines! It helps with digestion. But your wine night, your rules!

What gets said at wine night should probably stay within the wine night circle of friends.

Pretending to be a sommelier is always a good idea; it’s not as if most of your friends will know anything about the wine anyways.

Wine nights continue to be a special part of my USC experience, and I hope this is something you can share with your friends too. In the midst of studying for midterms, chasing down our dream internships and full-time jobs or dealing with emotional stress, we deserve a breather. For an hour or two every week (especially on weekdays), we should just be with people we care most about and take a step back to live the ordinary moments. Wine nights can be an open invitation that you could use to make that happen. 

P.S. Don’t forget that wine opener!

Ted Wint is a senior writing about wine culture for the Daily Trojan. His column “Let’s Wine Down” runs every other Thursday.