By Tyler Kohfeld
According to the various iterations of the “Guy Code” I’ve familiarized myself with over the years, there are several activities that dudes are traditionally not supposed to conduct together. While the Guy Code does not provide set-in-stone examples to go off of, a rule of thumb is to practice self-discretion to determine which activities are acceptable and what others are taboo. A few examples that float to the surface, at least for me, would be: shopping for clothes with another guy, watching romantic comedies together, and asking another dude to help change a tire. These are things you just don’t do. However, now that it’s 2017 and we’ve somewhat ushered in an era of open-mindedness, I realize that lines have been blurred and not everything is as black and white as it used to be. The previous benchmark of manliness that was built on John Wayne, red meat with every meal and guys having to be emotionally despondent has been redefined by urban hipsters with lumberjack beards who drink lattes and talk about feelings. I suppose Bob Dylan was right…the times they are a changin’.
The perfect example of this revolution in masculinity actually happened to me not too long ago. It started out as a standard guys’ weekend getaway of chugging cheap beer and playing poker, but somewhere along the way, and for unbeknownst reasons, a dramatic turn was taken into foreign territory: somebody suggested that we all go wine tasting…together. Under the normal context of a guys’ weekend, one might think that a suggestion as ludicrous as going wine tasting would be met with one of those record-scratch moments. Instead, shockingly, the idea hung in the air and each person slowly embraced it. Most, if not all, of the group had been wine tasting before, but never without women representation.
Knowing what I know about tasting rooms, and that I never see dude-exclusive groups drinking wine together, I was a little leery about this concept. Prior to this occasion, it was public opinion amongst our entourage that in the broad spectrum of the manliness scale, all-male wine tasting fell somewhere between body waxing and watching Sex and the City. Despite all of this, the groundwork had been laid, we were trying something new and we were pushing forward with this plan.
Approximately an hour later, there we were: ten very timid (albeit also very handsome) men teetering at the entrance of a local winery tasting room with our masculinity lingering in the balance. Our determination was strong and just as Lewis and Clark had done for settlers of the western unknown, we wanted to become pioneers in our own right. Affirmed, in we walked, ready to blaze trails for men in tasting rooms everywhere.
Expecting to be assaulted with a litany of bewilderment and quizzical looks, quite the opposite occurred. Once we camped ourselves in a convenient spot at the bar, nobody passed judgment or second-guessed why we were there without any female companions in sight; we were just a gaggle of rugged dudes looking to drink some damn wine. After the first few pours, our collective nerves loosened and we realized that our manliness was no longer at stake. We cracked jokes, mingled with other patrons, and generally were a hit with every tasting room we went into. By the end of the afternoon, I couldn’t believe how much fun we were all having, and not to mention, there were no romantic expectations thrust upon us as there undoubtedly would be if spouses or other female counterparts were present. We were free to be men in all of our purple-lipped glory.
Moral of the story: just because certain activities don’t traditionally involve men, or men exclusively, doesn’t mean that they aren’t manly. If you want to go wine tasting with a bunch of buddies, just go for it.
Here are 5 reasons why all-dude wine tasting trips are seriously awesome:
1. Already previously touched on, wine tasting with a significant other usually involves the pressure of romance, but when it’s just your buddies, you don’t have to worry about any of that nonsense.
2. If you’re single, tasting rooms are a fantastic place to fraternize with a plethora of other good-looking singles.
3. It kinda makes you feel bad-ass. Couples tasting together are a dime a dozen, but when eight dapper dudes swagger up to the bar, it’s definitely going to create a buzz and attract attention.
4. Wine tasting gets you out of your comfort zone. Every guy excursion can’t be a repeat of sporting events, Die Hard marathons and Keystone Light. Sometimes you have to branch out and do something different.
5. It is a great excuse to bond with your fellow bro. Nothing says camaraderie like Cabernet.
Now, go forth, be manly, and drink wine!
Chief Hat Wearer (literally), Resident Hunky Ginger and Wine Club Coordinator at Miner Family Winery, I like to surround myself with good friends and great times. I feel that wine plays a big part in that. My goal is to provide unpretentious insight on wine culture from a guy’s perspective, as well as the Napa Valley in general. I also love baseball and dogs.