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May. 29 2012

Uncorked: We’ll Drink To That!

By Dyana Neal | Posted in Host Blogs | 3 Comments

“It warms the blood, adds luster to the eyes, and wine and love have ever been allies.” – Ovid

Jim & I love museums. We also enjoy wine, so when we learned that Winterthur was featuring an exhibition called “Uncorked! Wine, Objects, & Tradition”, we knew we’d have to pay a visit to Delaware. Our chance came last Saturday. Yes, we braved I-95N on a holiday weekend; hideous traffic notwithstanding, we had a great trip.

“Uncorked!” contains over 300 objects related to the history, making, &, of course, consumption of wine. Besides the obvious items (drinking vessels, storage & travel cases, etc.) there are song sheets, trade cards, artworks, & more on view. Some of the mezzotints & engravings are hilarious & quite bawdy – if you have delicate sensibilities, you’ve been warned! I loved the trick drinking vessels – decanters pierced in various spots or otherwise constructed so that one would have quite a time taking a swig out of them without spilling the contents. I’m sure these provided quite a bit of entertainment back in the day, especially when used by folks who had already been imbibing for a while. The show also includes “The New Game of Virtue Rewarded & Vice Punished” as well as other items related to the temperance movement & the potential ill-effects of wine.


One 19-century British music hall song referred to in “Uncorked!”, George Leybourne’s “Champagne Charlie”, was also hit in the U.S.  The song inspired a play based on Leybourne’s life – apparently he lived exactly the sort of decadent existence detailed in the lyrics. The play was even filmed in 1944.

Having seen “Uncorked!”, we wandered around Winterthur’s grounds for a bit – alas, it was too late at that point to visit other parts of the museum, but we’ve been before & most certainly will go back – then had a lovely Italian dinner. With Chianti, of course.

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Dyana is WBJC's midday host. Her full bio can be read here.

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