Although it may not have been good for my liver, Jacques' Wein Depot has definitely been good for my soul.
I'm wary of pushing the "brands are like human beings" analogy too far, but this is surely one brand where I'll admit to having a relationship (and my husband is well-aware of the fact).
While I'm aware that, like many other brands, I could go online with Jacques', part of the appeal is that the relationship is 90% analogue, real life, or whatever you like to call it. Yes, they do gather data about what I've bought which results in freebies and birthday bottle and suchlike, but I don't have any permanent, alarming reminder whizzing around on my iPhone. The newsletter is paper and comes through the post, and I can read it at my leisure.
I love the combination of dependability, knowledge and little surprises. I've collected a lot of freebies over the years. Some I use, while some sit in their boxes looking pretty. They are always appreciated.
Of course, I buy plonk at the local supermarket, too. Sometimes even good bottles of wine from a trip away (what's that?) or another wine warehouse - but I always come back to Jacques'. Even though there's no tasting there at the moment, and you have to shuffle around in masks.
And perhaps, the strongest connections with a brand are through personal experience. An event at which the brand played a small, but important part. Earlier in the year, having had a Weinwanderung cancelled, I had the madcap idea of a Eurovision Wein Grand Prix - a stagger around local countryside with wine from six different European countries - Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Italy and France.
Without doubt, it was one of the best days of the year so far. (Italy won, by the way).
It's cheers to my lockdown hero brand, and happy first Advent Sunday to all!