The Soul of Wine

Savoring the Goodness of God

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Pub Date 03 Dec 2019 | Archive Date 14 Feb 2020

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★ Publishers Weekly starred review Wine is a wonderful, lavish, and mysterious gift from God. Gisela Kreglinger, the daughter of a vintner and trained as a theologian, invites us to discover wine as part of a more full-bodied Christian spirituality. She shows us how the soulful savoring of wine is God's way of wooing us back into a great love affair. Indeed, Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding. Along with bread, wine is the gift we receive at the table of communion. Through these gifts we experience God's glorious and loving presence among us, feeding and nurturing us in body, soul, and spirit. Wine was never meant just for a small and elite group of well-to-do people but is for us all. Wine can reenchant the world and help us fall in love with it all over again. Come and savor its goodness. A wine tasting and book discussion guide is also included.

★ Publishers Weekly starred review Wine is a wonderful, lavish, and mysterious gift from God. Gisela Kreglinger, the daughter of a vintner and trained as a theologian...

Advance Praise

"While there's often a disconnect between spirituality and celebration, in The Soul of Wine Gisela Kreglinger invites us into the vineyard to experience the abundance of God. The daughter of a German vintner, her book heralds for cultural healing through God's gift of wine."
-Sandra McCracken, singer-songwriter and recording artist in Nashville, Tennessee

"Anyone who loves wine knows that it is the world's most spiritual beverage—a beverage steeped in mystery and transformation. In this deeply personal account, Gisela Kreglinger explores how wine can evoke the divine in everyday life. Ms. Kreglinger shares thoughtful musings, examples, and ideas that spiritual wine lovers will find captivating and affirming."
-Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible

"Here is a wine book that is at once wise, refreshing, and delightful: wise because it draws on a lifetime's Christian reflection on wine and on the wisdom of Scripture and tradition, refreshing because it sets the reader free from all the absurd competitiveness and anxiety of wine snobbery and restores wine to its rightful place at the heart of inclusion and community, and delightful because Gisela Kreglinger addresses the reader with such clarity, charm, and style. This book not only celebrates the soul of wine, it also speaks deeply to the soul of its readers."
-Malcolm Guite, Girton College, Cambridge

"Spirituality and wine are two realms that have been too often reserved for an elite class of devotees and drinkers. To me, this is a tragedy as I consider the fruit of the vine to be one of God's greatest gifts, and artfully made wine to be one of the most profound and pleasurable collaborations between God and humans. I am thankful that in The Soul of Wine Gisela Kreglinger is making both soul and wine accessible and inviting to the expert and beginner alike. Cheers!"
-Adam McHugh, wine tour guide and sommelier, author of The Listening Life

"When I was growing up, my father and two uncles were preachers. For communion, Welch's grape juice was served. Such blasphemous deprivation might explain why I ended up in the business of fine wines. What a joy to find a book that combines divinity and vinity (to coin a word). Believers and non-believers will gain new respect for the fermented fruit of the vine. A gem of a book, it is a great read and makes me wonder why some modern religions treat wine as a sin when the Bible so clearly considers it God's gift to man and womankind."
-Kermit Lynch, wine importer and author of Adventures on the Wine Route

"I read The Soul of Wine with increasing delight and ever deeper emotion. This book offers wisdom not just about wine, but about our souls as well—about the joy, grief, and beauty that shape all of our stories, and that are so intertwined with the making of wine. It will help me drink more slowly and more meaningfully not just from my next glass of wine, but from life itself."
-Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

"As much as wine delights and communes its drinkers, it intimidates and divides some as well. In The Soul of Wine, Kreglinger dispels the myth that wine appreciation requires a distinguished palate or an elite vocabulary. Rather she presents wine as a simple gift from God that, when stewarded well, offers a glimpse of creation as it is meant to be."
-Kendall Vanderslice, author of We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God

"Wine saturates the Scriptures. God gave wine 'to gladden the hearts of humanity,' to deepen our understanding and celebration of a redeemed life. Yet many of us, to be 'spiritual' have abstained. Gisela wisely and beautifully shows us a better way. The Soul of Wine opens our eyes, our mouths, and our appetites to learn and taste all that God has so lavishly given. I'm feasting and rejoicing more fully because of it."
-Leslie Leyland Fields, author/editor of The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God

"While there's often a disconnect between spirituality and celebration, in The Soul of Wine Gisela Kreglinger invites us into the vineyard to experience the abundance of God. The daughter of a German...

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Featured Reviews

The Soul of Wine Savoring the Goodness of God by Gisela H. Kreglinger InterVarsity Press IVP Books Christian , Religion & Spirituality Pub Date 03 Dec 2019 I am reviewing a copy of The Soul of Wine through Intervarsity Press and Netgalley: From ancient times people have believed that wine is imbued with spiritual meaning and can become a mediator between heaven and earth, evoking divine presence. The Greeks believed in the wine god Dionysius, the Romans in Bacchus, and the Etruscans in Fufluns. The Jews believe God Gabe them wine to give them glad hearts, while the Christmas Celebrate the Last Supper with bread and wine. Wine is a wonderful, lavish gift from God, it is mysterious but in this book Gisela Kreglinger who is the daughter of a contest and a trained theologian shows us how to look at wine as a more full bodied Christian Spirituality She shows us how the soulful savoring of wine is God’s way of wooing us back into a great love affair. We are reminded that Jesus’s first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding. During Communion we receive both bread and wine Through these gifts we experience God’s glorious and loving presence among us, feeding and nurturing us in body, soul, and spirit. Wine was never meant just for a small and elite group of well-to-do people but is for us all. I have found that The Soul of the Wine brings forth good arguments in an understandable manner, and is well written and is therefore worthy of five out of five stars. Happy Reading!

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What has wine got to do with God and spirituality? How does wine appreciation and faith matters relate to each other? What is the soul of wine? Author and wine-lover Gisela Kreglinger leads us through the vineyard of spirituality to connect the beauty of God's creation of wine to the profound meaning behind God's intent, purpose, and goodness. Instead of letting spirituality speak into the world of fine wine, Kreglinger goes the other direction to let wine speak to us about spirituality. Jews believe wines gladden their hearts. Many cultures throughout the world hold wines in a special albeit with a mysterious awe. Going back to the Bible, we learn about Jesus's encounters with wine. From the wedding at Cana where He turned water into wine; to the Last Supper where He served his disciples with bread and wine. Even the apostle Paul mentions wine for medicinal purposes. There is also a lot that we can learn about wine itself. It not only reveals God to us, it leads us to God's gifts for us. This is what the author aims to do: "help us rediscover wine as a spiritual and cultural gift." We need to sip it bit by bit in order to savour the goodness of the colour, the smell, the taste, and the overall experience. This cannot be rushed. When we are thirsty, we often gulp down a glass of water. Sometimes we do the same with wine. This reduces wine to simply a liquid to be swallowed instead of a gift to be savoured. This is the author's second book on wine and faith matters. Her first was "The Spirituality of Wine" which links the whole process of wine-making, wine-tasting, and wine-drinking, with the ordinary things in life. This book continues that orientation but with a more personalized focus on God and His desire to reach out and touch us. Her thesis is this: "Wine is an affair of the heart. Savoring wine can and should be an affair of the heart where we are moved and touched and elevated." This affair is essentially about God reaching out to us. Thus, this book goes beyond mere spirituality toward an encounter with God. How does wine teach us this? Kreglinger describes this in 14 chapters. I like to mention a few highlights. Firstly, wine is a mystery to behold rather than a puzzle to be solved. This marvel and wonder will sustain our connection with the Creator and Divine Being. Just like people are not to be treated as a problem to be solved or a a means to an end, we need to learn to enjoy God for who He is instead of what we make Him to be. This constant back-and-forth is what the author tries her best to do throughout the book. Kreglinger says it well, that many people reduces wine appreciation to a matter of good/bad; right/wrong; or some binary decision making. It is like saying appreciating wine is not exactly a science but an art. Truth is, wine is more than that. Wine invites us to taste for ourselves whether we like the texture or not. It teaches us to appreciate the history, the story, the narrative of the creation of wine. We need to learn to be comfortable with mystery instead of constantly trying to apply exact science into the art of drinking wine. Once we are able to be comfortable with that, we are on the way to appreciating life for what it is, instead of seeing life as a problem or puzzle to be solved. Learning to behold the beauty of wine helps us appreciate the beauty of one another. Perhaps, this can be applied to our relationships too. That we learn to pace ourselves with one another patiently and freely without being bounded by schedules or time constraints. Spirituality is about being involved to treat one another as persons rather than machines. Secondly, we learn about how wine connects us to a whole potpourri of food and celebration. It not only adds to the menu. It enhances the enjoyment. Wine is to be savoured and this attitude pushes back against our culture of fast-food and quick meals. We need to resist the temptation to rush our food and eating. It can also bring about stress release. Kreglinger brilliantly connects wine with making peace, and making peace with prayer. Wine is used to understand how God "kisses humanity" when the wine-lover becomes motivated to find out more about the history until the passion for wine turns into love for God. In turn, one realizes that God had been there loving us all along! Wine is also a great companion to food in the sense that it elevates the enjoyment of food. Sip instead of gulping. Eat instead of gobbling. Savour instead of rushing. For relationships are not to be straitjacketed into what we want it to be. They are to be nourished and nurtured into letting us be who we are created to be. Kreglinger notes how the very act of eating and drinking has become a battleground against overeating, against indulgence, against gluttony or drunkenness, and against corrupting the gifts of God. Thirdly, any topic about the soul of anything inevitably leads to a bare vulnerability about ourselves. Like how God makes himself vulnerable via the full revelation in Christ, we learn how wine opens up ourselves for conversations and for honest friendships. She notes how many modern marriages had broken down due to the inability of couples to bridge their differences. Amazingly, wine is seen as that go-between to increase the middle space for couples to relate better. Physically, it enhances sexuality. Relationally, it stimulates conversations. Spiritually, it sustains appreciation for each other instead of mere using the other for one's ends. Taking inspiration from the Songs of Songs, Kreglinger notes the interesting "smack in the middle of the Bible" as a literary tool to understand this bridge. Eventually, we sees how passion for wine turns into intermingling of passions for God and for one another. Like her first book, apart from the bits of wine appreciation tips scattered throughout the book, there is a chapter of discussion questions and formal wine-tasting lesson. The premise is clear. We appreciate wine because God had blessed us with the gift of wine. Wine is precious in the Old Testament. Relationships are enhanced through the enjoyment of wine. Jesus turned water into wine. The Holy Eucharist had wine as a major element on the table. These and much more affirm the place of wine biblically. We ought to do the same. This book is the most personal and deepest expression of the author's love for wine and God. Gisela Kreglinger grew up in a family-owned winery in Franconia, Germany. She has a deep passion for all things spiritual and especially anything that is wine-related. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of St Andrews. Rating: 4.75 stars of 5. conrade This book has been provided courtesy of InterVarsity Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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