THE PURITANICALS among us despise hedonism, as though seeking pleasure and self-gratification were a sin. They lump it in with “materialism” and “greed”. I don`t see it that way. I think a little bit of hedonism from time to time is enriching of life, both the physical and the spiritual. For some people it might be a day in the spa, or a drive in the red Ferrari. For me, it`s in the opening of a special bottle of wine. The anticipation of it can be every bit as exciting as the event itself. It might be to mark a special occasion, such as the 1999 Dom Perignon I opened at last year`s staff party, to remember the year I bought The Wine Centre. It could be to remember someone. Just yesterday I opened a 2005 Rauzan-Segla, picked out by Theresa in the shop, to remember her late husband by. Earlier this year I opened another Margaux to remember my father. Another time it might be to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary, a friendship. The wine itself can be the occasion, of course, the leg of lamb chosen to accompany it. The cork is drawn, the contents poured gently into the decanter, allowing the wine to breath, while removing any sediment it may have thrown. The wine is distributed to the waiting guests. It is regarded, smelled, tasted. Not with undue ceremony, but reverently, thoughtfully. Those present are aware of the significance of this bottle, and the moment. And yes, we indulge, we coo, we titter, undeniably a little self-absorbed, rapturous in the excitement of tasting such a rare, beautiful thing. Even better, the shared experience of it, with family, friends, loved ones, in the knowledge we have just marked this moment in time forever, like a priceless one in a generation photo. I don`t think it is too farfetched to call such a passing of time as uplifting, even spiritual. Do you? Better a hedonist than a puritan. Better we seek life`s pleasures and to share them, than to be abstemious, mean-spirited and pious. Cheers everyone!