[Editor’s Note: Eden Alternative Europe Coordinator Christa Monkhouse guest-posts on a weekly basis from across the Big Pond. Christa helped introduce the Eden Alternative to Europe, first in the UK, then Denmark, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and soon in Sweden, Finland and other European nations. Stay-tuned for regular updates on ‘Monkhouse Mondays’.]
Last week I received a much treasured present from a friend in South Africa, a bottle of red wine (2005 Shiraz DeGrendel Tijgerberg, Capetown) with two golden stickers indicating it is an award winner. Taking it out of its box and reading the enclosed leaflet, one phrase caught my attention: “Ageing potential 10 years”.
Being a discerning wine-enjoyer, not a wine expert, I looked up the phrase “ageing potential“ on the internet and found that it is a (somewhat artistic) prediction of how the wine will taste in a couple of years time based on the grape, the climate and soil conditions (intrinsic components), production, filling and storage conditions (extrinsic components). The assumption is that there are certain wines which improve with age, reaching their peak taste after a few or even many years.
Thinking about human ageing, I wonder if we replaced the declinist and ageist notion of ageing (extrinsic factors) with the ageing potential of wine, describing it as the synthesis of all human traits, talents and experiences (intrinsic value) and a new appreciation of them (extrinsic value), would we be able to describe a person of 55 or 60 not as old, but as a person with an “ageing potential of 25 to 35 years” and young people of twenty as having an aging potential of 65 to 75 years”?
— Christa Monkhouse