FORREST Gump once said life was like a box of chocolates.
True enough. Because as he says, you never do know what you're going to get.
But as time has passed, I have come to the conclusion that wine offers a sturdier, more reliable comparative.
In wine, as in life, there is consolation in variety.
No two offerings are the same.
Even when plucked from the same vintage or region, there are hints of diversity - often subtle, sometimes more obvious - but ubiquitous nevertheless.
Then there are the pairings.
In simplicity, indeed, there is bliss.
Yet the robust complexities of compatibility and balance and tone are as delightful in life as they are to a seasoned palate.
Too little spice or tannin and a mundane monotony ensues; too much and you're left clutching your throat, willing your heart to keep beating and brushing hot, furious tears from your eyes.
It's possible, though, as the old cliche espouses, that the most appropriate connection between wine and life is that to do with age.
Indeed life and wine - by definition and by practice - is richer, more enduring, bolder and more robust with age.
With the benefit of years and experience, we see the flaws of our past and we have the opportunity to make good.
In hindsight, we can look to the future with a clearer vision of who we are, who we aspire to be and what impressions - both first and lasting - we deliver to those willing to welcome our company.
With the right conditions, some measured risk, and either the right lineage (or the kind of grit to make up for a lack thereof), there is an assuredness that the quality will be high and the returns strong.
Conversely, where left to sit, with little review or chance for growth, and where paltry regard is given to a new approach and safeness is clung to with white-knuckled possessiveness, the outcome is likely to be inconsequential at best, or bitter and cork-spoiled at worst.
Like wine, our existence is too brief to waste on mediocrity. And like wine, it is all about variety and balance. Be chilled, be fluid. Be still, be fortified. Be bubbly, be deep. But never be cheap. Never be nasty. And never leave someone with a sour taste or a tainted palate.