I’ve got a bottle of wine on our wine rack that I bought at the East Coast Food and Wine Festival last summer that my husband keeps asking if he can open. No, I tell him, it’s too expensive to open on any old night.
I’m going to open the bottle, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend called The Big ‘O’ from Unionville Vineyards, this Saturday night. Why? Because it’s Open That Bottle Night. It's still any old night, but it's the one any old night a year with specific permission to open a bottle of wine you've been saving.
Started in 1999 by former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, OBTN is the last Saturday night of February. Over the past decade the night has become popular in the wine world.
The night has also become a night for stories. Palate Press recently interviewed Gaiter and Brecher, and they shared that after the first OTBN, they received over 1,000 handwritten letters from people sharing their stories of that night. Over the years, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of other stories have been shared about OTBN. Stories like this one:
Another young woman opened a bottle of wine that her dad who had died had made, her very last one. She had thought of it as a treasure and made three moves with it. She had thought that drinking the last bottle would be somewhat akin to losing him again but she shared it with very good friends who then got to experience him in a very sweet way. There was no better way to honor him, she said, than to drink it with the family she had cobbled together from friends.
You can follow along with other OBTN participators on Twitter to find out what they’re opening by searching for #OBTN.