One of the things Cockburn likes best about working for The Spectator is its unswerving devotion to the policy debates that matter. In that intellectual spirit, and bearing in mind the recent photo of Pennsylvania Republican candidate Dr. Oz holding a glass of Cab at a Penn State tailgate, he’s proud to announce our first ever Spectator World symposium, featuring the views of his colleagues. Today’s subject: is it ever acceptable to drink wine at a football tailgate?
Amber Athey, Washington editor
If you’re under the age of forty at a college football tailgate, ideally the only wine you’re drinking is from a box. Acceptable consumption methods are out of an oddly dusty and sticky red solo cup or directly from the spout during a game of “slap the bag.” Older folks have earned the right to drink whatever the hell they want, in my opinion. Back in my poor college days, I was just trying to befriend anyone in a button down and loafers so they’d offer me a pour of their secret trunk bourbon.
Matt McDonald, managing editor
Tailgates in college towns showcase the rich cultural fabric of America. The tailgate lot is a melting pot — and at many a tailgate, I have witnessed donor-class doctors drinking wine from a glass, shoulder to shoulder with Natty Lite-pickled fraternity brothers. Usually the bourgeois wine-drinking dad has the best tailgate setup: heat lamps, flatscreen TV showing other games in the conference, a smorgasbord of food options to draw in all comers. Wine dad will do a Jell-O shot if asked. He belongs at the tailgate as much as you or I.
Matt Purple, digital editor
I’m going to play the reluctant extremist here and say it’s never acceptable to drink wine at a football tailgate. First, the action often starts in the wee hours of the morning. Uncork a bottle of Pinot that early and you risk a splitting headache come kickoff. Plus, among hardened football fans, day-drinking wine may mark you as a Karen, leading to your being shunned lest you torment everyone with horror stories about your unvaccinated Republican brother. Beer is simply better suited for the task at hand. To everything there is a season, and for Coors Light it’s the parking lot at Beaver Stadium.
Teresa Mull, assistant editor
To deny wine a seat at the tailgate is to do a disservice to the diversity, equity, and inclusion for which Pennsylvania wineries are renowned the Commonwealth over. The sommelier at my local wine store informed me the most popular flavor (yes) they sell is called “Summer Brew” and “tastes just like iced tea.” It’s a “fruit wine” of dubious but nonetheless exciting origin. While other countries and silly states like California marginalize most ingredients, Pennsylvania winemakers embrace way more than just grapes. PB&J is an “all-American favorite combo” and Maple is “made for your pancakes.” It’s perfect for those noon games when the tailgate party starts early in the morning.
Ben Domenech, editor-at-large
It is absolutely acceptable to drink wine at a tailgate. There are however a few requirements before you do so, to be ascertained by a simple quiz. Does beer make you feel bloated? Do you care about football primarily as an opportunity to show off seasonal and sports adjacent fashion accessories? Does your home have any shirts, wall art or kitschy wooden decor that references wine, particularly rosé? Look in a mirror. Are you a woman, particularly a white woman, even more particularly a blonde white woman? Then the answer is a definitive yes, you can drink wine at a tailgate. Cheap chard, warm zinfandel or “champagne” you bought at a pharmacy absolutely works — and if you want to get fancy about it, you can snag a bottle of vinho verde and pair it with a plate of sliced meats, flavorless crackers and the only non-processed cheese to be found in the parking lot.