High fives all around.
I didn't give it much thought at the time. But it came back to me recently when I was invited to have lunch at the home of a friend. Eventually there were eight of us, all guys. I had brought a bottle of dry rose (say rose-EH). I opened it, poured myself a glass and joined the initial cluster of three.
As the other fellows arrived, the host pointed them to the kitchen table with my bottle of wine plus a liter of red he had set out. "And there's beer in the fridge. Help yourself."
One by one, each guy grabbed an MGD. I never before had felt self-conscious about the contents of my glass.
A 2008 Gallup Poll reported that, among women who drink, 43 percent said their favorite adult beverage is wine while 28 percent said they prefer beer. Among men, 58 percent said they go first for beer. Only 17 percent said wine is their first choice.
That leaves 25 percent preferring another libation. I'm guessing this segment goes for spirits - scotch, whisky, vodka, gin and the like.
I had never thought drinking wine was less than manly. If you already don't have hair on your chest, it will take root if you regularly drink a California cabernet sauvignon with 15.5 percent alcohol by volume and enough tannin to blister the paint on your Harley.
A recent Associated Press article pointed out that some wine marketers feel the need to pitch their products to men.
One is Bennett Lake Winery in Calistoga, Calif. Owner Randy Lynch sponsors a car on NASCAR's western circuit and is a former race driver himself. Gentlemen, get your corkscrews.
Randall Grahm, founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, Calif., has spent his whole life over the top. One small example was his Big House Red and White, with the name referring to Soledad prison near the winery. The label bears a caricature of the prison, barbed wire and all.
The wine sold so well that Grahm launched a separate Big House line with such names as The Slammer, The Lineup and The Birdman.
Modesto, Calif., winemaker Cal Dennison tries to finesse us guys. The outdoorsman and horseman stamps the corks of his Redwood Creek wines with GPS coordinates for various hiking spots.
Sure, I want to see more men drinking wine. If seeing the name of a winery on a car that goes 200 miles an hour helps, great.
But the self-assured man won't be swayed one way or another by labels and aggressive branding. He will do some research and look for a wine that represents its category, even if the label bears flowers.
Excuse me while I go pour myself a goblet of Marilyn Merlot.