Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and that means many folks are scrambling for just the right gift for a loved one. Wine has always struck me as a great gift option for Valentine’s Day, and I have a couple of suggestions that I think are really timely, though I freely admit I think wine is a great gift for any holiday and all the days between as well. And there is no better way to gift wine and a wine experience than by gifting VeritageMiami.
As much as I like chocolate, the idea of “sweets for the sweet” and other cloying clichés have never struck me as imaginative ways to celebrate (or at least kindle) romance. Shouldn’t romance be a celebration of sharing, and doesn’t that point us to a shared experience as the ideal gift for a day devoted to romance? And why be dogmatic about this holiday just a month shy of the beginning of spring, the season of renewal and rebirth? Let’s extend our celebration to companionship and friendship, and what is better than wine (and a wine festival) as a vehicle for sharing?
The Valentine’s Day holiday came about because the early Christian church co-opted as its own an even earlier Roman holiday called Lupercalia. This was a common occurrence as the church tried to stamp out paganism without losing the hearts and minds of its devotees, and it wasn’t a big jump in the fifth century to recast a Roman fertility feast as a holiday for lovers, using the popular (and recently martyred) Saint Valentine as a symbolic focus.
We have the staid and prim Victorians to thank for commercializing the holiday, sending cards and creating a romantic, if rather formal, mystique about the day. They latched on to the idea in the Northern hemisphere that February was the beginning of birds’ mating season, and thus a time of rebirth (and not off the point, in Italian rebirth is renaissance). Those clever Victorians also helped create the modern wine industry, and what better connection could we find than linking a Roman feast to more intimate feasts for two in the elusive search for romance? Food and wine have long been linked with romance – just look at all the Renaissance art portraying Cupid (or Eros, god of love) and Bacchus (or Dionysus, patron of all things winey) as best buddies. As you might surmise, no good Roman would ever consider attending a feast without wine, and we shouldn’t either, and (“finally,” I hear you saying) that brings me to VeritageMiami.
For 25 years, VeritageMiami (and its precursors – check the history of VeritageMiami for the wine-filled saga of how we got here) has been giving South Floridians a way, and a place, to celebrate love – love of community, love of wine and food, and in many bottles and auction lots, romantic love as well. When we started the celebration of our 24th anniversary last year, we had no idea how 2020 would end up. And now that 2021 is here along with our 25th anniversary, we have had our own renaissance and rebirth as we have pivoted, adapted, invented and reimagined how to bring you the events you love in new ways.
Our message is: we are here! Join us and celebrate Valentine’s Day by gifting your significant other, your family, your friends and our community with tickets to all the events of VeritageMiami. We will be live and in person wherever and whenever possible. We will be virtual where that is a better and safer option. Either way, we plan to bring you a wonderful sharing experience, a chance to celebrate romance along with your love of food and wine all while supporting our community in these trying times.
The title of this post is not original – I quote (very loosely translated, I admit) from the early Roman poet Terence who described a meeting of Venus, Bacchus and Cupid (you can see it in the painting here from many centuries later) and wrote, “Love is impossible without food and wine.” Terence’s idea was that love flourishes when we flourish and by extension we flourish when our community flourishes. Let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day with a commitment to our community and United Way of Miami-Dade and VeritageMiami.