Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 22

It’s high-school midterm week here at Casa de Armchair Sommelier . . . and I’m the Spanish tutor.  I speak just enough Spanish to get myself into, but not out of trouble.  I read Spanish fairly well, but speaking . . . ooof.  I speak an ugly Spanish.  I always tell Spanish speakers to speak to me like I’m a five year old — then we’re good.  I know my Spanish isn’t right, but I can usually get my point across.  People get the gist.  This is what I keep trying to explain to my boy.  Learning a foreign language isn’t really about memorizing endless lists of vocabulary and conjugations (except in high school, where it’s all about that).  Foreign language is about the gist.  Quit trying to translate everything word for word — just try and make mistakes.  People are generally pretty patient (and sometimes entertained) when you make the effort.  They’ll forgive you the mistakes.  Put the zapato on the other foot.  I have a friend from Mexico who routinely slays the English language by saying endearing things like, “I come for the store”.  No, it’s not right, but I get the gist.

What does this have to do with Wine, Words & Wednesday?

A few years ago, I was vacationing in Chile with my girlfriend, who is from Chile.  Visiting a foreign country with a native speaker is the bonus of all bonuses.  You get the insider’s track to food & drink, people, and places.  One afternoon, she and I were walking through a tiny craft bazaar in a speck of a town called Algorrobo (home of the world’s largest swimming pool, btw). I got so excited when I saw this sticker — I bought it instantly, and I wasn’t even going to haggle (but my friend said that’s simply not done, so I think I ended up paying something absurd, like 43 cents, for it).  I bought it not just because it was about wine, but also because I actually understood 95% of it, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.


Basically, it means this:

If you came into the world, you came to drink wine.
And if you don’t drink wine, then why the hell did you come?

I had to ask my friend about the cresta part.  Cresta is Chilean slang, which is like saying crap. So technically, my sticker says, why the crap did you come?  Now that I think about it . . . I like that version even better.

I’m going to pour myself a glass of vino and head back into conjugation Hell.  Wish us luck!



  1. I love that phrase! I have never heard it before and I love it! I speak decent Spanish; read it better as well. It is French that kicks my butt. Trouble is in Spanish each letter has a sound that is pronounced. My brain defaults to this axiom in French and the results are terrible but actually quite entertaining! Good luck with midterms! Cheers!


      1. I have been to Paris. It is a great city!!! If you can say hello, thank you and ask if they speak English all in French you should be fine. They just like us to try. We did not met a Parisian that did not speak English.


  2. The cresta went over my head as well- but I am very bad with any sort of Spanish slang from Latin America/South America. I’ve got my Spanish slang down, though it’s often very different!

    High school Spanish is awful, and while I generally did well, I had a hard time with Spanish level 5 where we learned every possible way to say things like bread, roll, loaf, etc. I found college Spanish much more accessible where you’re utilizing the language that you know and building off of that, not blindly learning fifty words a week.


    1. High school Spanish is dreadful. It ruins the desire to truly LEARN the language! I think the only way you can really learn a language is to spend a semester or a year abroad. When you don’t have a choice to speak English, eventually it clicks. Cheers!!


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