Don't be surprised if, during brunch time in Spain, you'll find that a lot of people are drinking wine. It's actually normal for them to consume this hearty beverage before lunchtime. They do so to control their appetite just before having lunch. The time of the meals here in Spain slightly differs than that of the rest of the world. Lunch is often eaten during the early afternoon, not necessarily during noon itself. And, as a result, the people here need to drink or eat something in order to avoid starvation. And wine has become a common solution. Just don't overdo it and get drunk so early in the morning!
Spaniards use a unique and rather strange-looking contraption to drink their wine. It's called the 'porrón' and it sort of looks like a teapot. Eight inches high, usually made out of glass, you'd think it was a container from a laboratory at first glance. But no, in Spain, many bars and restaurants serve wine with this special "glass." And it's usually common to see people drinking their wine with it. And do take note tha they're just drinking the wine, not chugging it like beer from a beer bong. Even if people gather around to watch you drink it, it's considered bad manners if you chug wine.
It's important to understand that Spanish people, similarly to the Italians and the French, treat wine as a standard beverage. Almost a necessity even! They see it as normal a drink as one would coffee or tea, and so when you're going to have an authentic Spanish meal, wine is most likely the beverage of choice. As a result, it's important not to overdo it as well. Although the people here treat it normally, they also understand that they have to consume it moderately as too. Unless you have low alcohol tolerance, it's rare and considered tacky and bad manners if you get drunk by overdrinking wine.
If you're going to drink wine the Spanish way, expect to pair it with a snack if you're not doing so with a full-on meal. And out of all the food in this Mediterranean cuisine, expect tapas to be the number one choice. You'll notice that, when you go to Spain, some of their best tapas bars often serve wine with their selections. The tapas are the perfect stomach fillers to help you consume wine moderately when you're not doing so during lunch and dinner. And fortunately, this appetizer is easy to make yourself.
You might not apply this at home but it's good to know this before you travel here! In Spain, it's better to get your wine straight out of your local bodega than buying it in some fancy liquor store or grocery. In fact, when you go to one, you’re even encouraged to get a glass straight out of the barrel. This is mostly because Spanish people enjoy freshly-made wine the most. And since wine bodegas are practically a dime a dozen in the country, it'll be easy to get some straight out of a barrel. You'll realize that the taste is quite different indeed.
Relatively, it's always best when you bring your own bottle upon visiting a bodega. You'll get some of the freshest and tastiest table wine when you do. And this will last you a good week or so until you can go back again to get some more. Similarly, when you're invited by another person to have some wine, try to bring your own bottle as well. Although they'll likely have their own in the first place, it's still good manners to provide some. That way, you'll have some extra when the host runs out (which normally happens in Spain!).
Excited to go to Spain? Expect that you'll have to drink a lot of wine in order to live out their local culture. And when you do, it's better that you already know how to drink like a Spaniard and understand what their customs and traditions are in doing so.
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