Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

The father of analytical psychology was Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. Ever thought of yourself as an extrovert or an introvert? You have Jung to thank for coining those terms to describe elements of personality or behaviour.

The other Jungian concept which any man in the street can relate to is that of synchronicity – a coincidence of events which can be read as meaningful. So while two or more events or occurrences might initially appear random, when they stack up and become complentary they appear to have happened for a reason, a particular cause.

My little moment of synchronicity of people and place occurred at the Breedekloof food and wine pairing dinner held at the Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town’s foreshore last week. The delicious four-course meal took on new significance for me because the couple seated next to me took such obvious delight in every wine accompanying each dish! The young former advertising man and his food blogger wife took photos of each plate – and then used their smart phones to share their delight with like-minded folks who might be online.

Confession time: I’m not one of those who fall into the ‘early adopters of technology’ camp… Anything but. I’m more likely to be considered an old fart who clings onto outmoded technology because I’m comfortable with it and it works! That said (and here’s where I age and embarrass myself), I can remember the days of facsimiles taking over from telexes. In the newsroom where I worked, our photographers used to shoot both black-and-white and colour film – and then process the film and select images while hunched over negatives on lightboxes with loupes attached to their eyes.

I was reminded of that old school technology at the Breedekloof dinner when Duimpie Bayly, convenor of the food and wine pairing panel of which I was a member, recounted a highlight of my news reporting career, covering the sinking of the Oceanos passenger liner off the Wild Coast. We had two photographers on helicopters catching the drama as it unfolded – but no way of knowing whether they’d get back in time to process film and make our print deadlines! And we were fielding telephone calls from news outlets across the world – New York, Chicago, London, Berlin. It was heady stuff!

But I also remember when e-mail and the internet revolutionised our lives – with a dial-up connection, mind you. Communication has become almost instantaneous and changed the way that we all operate.

“I’m a wine geek,” was one of the first things my neighbour had said to me as he sat down. “I don’t know a great deal about it but I am fascinated by it.” As are his friends – all of whom do the same. And they stayed connected through the course of the meal, vicariously enjoying his take on the Goudini and Botha Chenin Blanc 2013s with the second course, or the Merwida, Botha and Slanghoek wines, the Sixpence Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend from Opstal.

It got me thinking about the Internet and wine, and I came across an interesting report – online – by an American Master of Wine, Dr Liz Thach, who is Professor of Management and Wine Business at Sonoma University.

In 2012, statistics showed that a third of the total United States population (100 million of around 316 million people) now drink wine. Sales in 2012 accounted for 360 million cases of wine – with a value of $34.6 billion. But the interesting stat for me was that 74% of all wine sales in the States take place online! How they derive the following statistic I have no idea, but Dr Thach wrote that 80% of people talk about wine on Facebook and 40% chat about wine on Twitter.

While I might not tweet, I admire those such as my dinner companions who do. It gives me great optimism for the future of wine in general because it’s a tangible sign that people care about this wonderful product. All of this – and Facebook has only just marked its 10th anniversary, while Twitter is just eight years old!

 – Fiona McDonald