As a mid-40-something with nine kids (no, that’s not a typo!), you could argue that my life is far from normal. But truth be told, I’m a pretty average guy. I’m middle class, hold a full-time job, attend Mass on Sundays, coach youth sports, shop at Walmart, and mow my own lawn. Oh, and my go-to wardrobe is khakis and a polo shirt, swapped out for shorts and tees on weekends. I do draw the line, however, at wearing socks with flip-flops!

Financially, I’m not necessarily a penny-pincher, but I do seek deals and values, as the kids’ next pair of cleats, field trip fee, or birthday present—not to mention mortgage, car payment, and utility bills—constantly awaits my wallet.

This brings me to my beverage consumption habits.

For years I was a Bud Light guy, spending no more than fifty cents a can. That is, until a buddy of mine finally convinced me to start drinking IPAs, easily bumping my beer-drinking budget up a few bucks. Despite this perceived upgrade (I can still debate that drinking an ice-cold Pabst Blue Ribbon is a great experience), I find myself keeping things pretty simple:

If you like it, and it feels right, go for it—and enjoy it. Don’t overthink the brand, the cost, or what your friends might think.

And therein lays my wine drinking philosophy.

I started drinking wine somewhere between my 500th Bud Light and first IPA. Actually, that’s not true. As somewhat mischievous youths, my cousin and I would occasionally sneak swigs out of our Italian grandmother’s 3.0L jug of Carlo Rossi during family gatherings. As teens, we further migrated to our parents’ box wine during camping trips. Hey, we’re keeping it real, right?

But alas, it wasn’t until adulthood and marriage that I realized wine’s unique place in my life. Whether I was enjoying a nice dinner out with my wife, relaxing in front of the television, celebrating a joyous occasion, or simply out of beer, I would more frequently find myself switching to a glass of wine—legally.

Through the years, I’ve sought opportunities to enjoy wine in all different settings, though never aspiring to be a connoisseur or snob. I simply want to appreciate it—the taste, the buzz, the communal vibe

Today, wine is a regular line item on our weekly grocery list, forcing me to be somewhat judicious in what I buy, or more accurately, how much I spend. I’ve been fortunate to taste some expensive wines, usually on someone else’s dime. But, I’ve discovered there are plenty of affordable, high-quality wines, that come every bit as close to the top dollar ones.

Actually these can be found in our own “backyard,” namely the El Dorado region—which is in the vicinity of Placerville. To think we drove up there all these years just looking for apples! And now we’ve discovered our favorite Zinfandel can be found in the same area. Lucky us!While I won’t abandon my love of beer or try to be something I’m not, I’ve found that Average Joe’s (and Jane’s) don’t have to settle for one or the other.

Let’s Be Real,

The Average Joe


Written by The Average Joe