The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Putting the “Father” in Father’s Day

Posted on | June 11, 2010 | Written by Jane Nelson | No Comments

It’s June—graduation time, BBQ time and time to go to Home Depot and pick out the shiniest power tool to celebrate Father’s Day—or that’s what the typical route would be. A complement to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day originated in the early 1900s as a holiday celebrating fatherhood, male parenting and even the forefathers of the United States. The holiday is typified by advertising for masculine tokens such as tools, grills, lawn care accoutrements and anything requiring an electrical socket, gas power or batteries. As I have grown older, I’ve become more bothered by how we celebrate fatherhood based on dad’s ability to put together bunk beds, his love of watching football in high definition or his way with charring meat. Dads have many sides, and I believe we should look at more of them than just the stereotypical ones.

I began to meditate on the notion of the male identity when I read William Grimes’ piece in the New York Times this past week about the re-release of Bernard DeVoto’s book The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto (first released in 1948). This book seems particularly relevant because of the popularity of shows such as “Mad Men,” a series that is relentlessly committed to historical accuracy and that takes a hard-lined nostalgic look at man’s role in society, the workplace and the home. In his piece, Grimes addresses the importance of a man’s ability to select and prepare a proper cocktail and suggests that it’s almost on par with grilling and handiwork in defining who a man is. This recent preoccupation of mine caused me really reconsider Father’s Day this year—how to celebrate the day and the importance of a relevant and original gift.

Sergio’s recent e-letter captured the sentiment of the holiday; he sees it as a celebration of some of the forefathers of Italian wine, as well as Italian wines that are commonly labeled as masculine. While I am certain that my dad would have a lot of fun with a new iPad or circular saw, I’ll be giving him something that we can enjoy together, perhaps a bottle of Barolo from Bartolo Mascarello’s estate, where his daughter, Maria Teresa makes the wine now. I recognize that my gift is not wholly selfless, for I know that my dad being the man that he is will share the bottle with me. However, I do know that he will enjoy plenty of it himself, and I know that it speaks more to the man he is far more than anything I could buy from Home Depot.

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