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Ernest Valtri: On Wine -- A different perspective since COVID-19


I recently spent seven days in Doylestown Hospital, with the first 2½ days in the COVID-19 intensive care unit. Fortunately, after testing negative three times for COVID-19, I was moved to the acute care unit, treated for a bacterial infection and discharged.

Leading the list of things I can’t have until fully recovered, is alcohol. So what’s a wine columnist to do without wine? Well, there are a few silver linings. First is listening to my wife tell me about what she’s drinking and what I’m missing. Her descriptions of several winners and a loser or two further underscore my respect and confidence (and superior ability to my own) in her analysis of our favorite beverage.

I also “attended” some virtual wine tastings, listening to experts online discuss a few of wine’s limitless aspects. Webinars produced by various wineries also proved interesting, though understandably a bit biased toward their own products.

We also shopped online for cool wine masks, which I now proudly wear.

Particularly fascinating are the tastes, smells and textures of foods I’ve been eating and trying to associate them with wine characteristics. This completely reverses the usual order of tasting a wine and relating the experience to smells and flavors from the world around me.

Now “That’s reminiscent of blueberries, black cherry and pepper” becomes, “These blueberries and black cherries remind me of that spicey Zinfandel we had with Jean and Joe last December.” This is a perspective I won’t forget.

By the way, the people working at Doylestown Hospital are truly the heroes we hear and read about in the media every day. From the doctors, nurses and technicians, to the ambulance first responders, the volunteers that pushed my gurney from test to test, the kitchen staff and the housekeeping teams, all are amazing. Having seen first-hand the daily risks taken and effort made on behalf of the patients they’re helping was unforgettably insightful. Heroes all! Heroes for sure.

Ernest Valtri of Buckingham is a sculptor and graphic designer and was a member of the PLCB’s Wine Advisory Council. You can contact Ernie at