Winston Churchill once noted that: “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”

Nelson Mandela, in his book, Long Walk to Freedom, also stated that it is natural for people to become more conservative with age – unfortunately I don’t have the exact quote here, but that was the gist of it.

When it comes to being outspoken, it is most often the youth who are in a league of their own.  Extolling their own virtues is undertaken liberally and forthrightly and hearing their messages is easy, as they are shouted out rather than hinted at.

Quite often (unfortunately not always) the messages being shouted by the “upstarts” contain many truths, have been well thought through and are conveyed with the best intentions rather than with diplomacy.

As time goes by, many lessons are learned and more conservative approaches follow in conveying these messages. Loudhailers and street corners are exchanged for notepads and Boardrooms; engagement is preferred to statement and the importance of unity supersedes the egos of individuals. At this stage, the voices are softer, subdued and more intelligible and the messages, while often inherently similar, conveyed more subtly and convincingly.

While the two Gentlemen quoted above were obviously referring to more political conservatism than to the stages in the life of a wine, both ring very true when it comes to wine.

While young wines often tend to jump out of the glass at you with their vibrance and overt enthusiasm, older ones tend to be much more restrained, less obvious and thus a lot more complex.

Perhaps I’m just getting older myself, but I must admit that, whether I’m listening to politicians or enjoying a glass of wine, I much prefer being spoken to than being shouted at!

Guy Webber is the winemaker of Hill & Dale Wines, Stellenbosch South Africa. This blog was first published on their website 24 August 2011.