Olivia Pope cannot catch a break. She is the daughter of two monsters; her main boyfriends are dangerous, unkind, and capable of tremendous violence; she has no real friends; and her phone rings at all hours. And now it turns out she's not even drinking wine right, according to Eric Asimov of the New York Times. (This just in: There is a wrong way to drink wine, you disgusting potato-human of a peasant.)
Many Americans regard wine as booze. They go to a bar for a topped-up glass of wine, or drink a glass on the deck at home before sitting down to dinner with a soda. Such a utilitarian view is anathema to classic wine culture, which puts wine at the center of the table, to be savored as a vital component of a meal rather than a stand-alone drink.
Yes, what's more utilitarian than drinking wine on a deck before sitting down to dinner? It's the most utilitarian of all activities, basically.
Asimov notes that Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife and many characters on Cougar Town also enjoy a healthy pour of wine, but Olivia stands out among them.
No show uses wine more than Scandal to portray character. It's not enough for the audience to infer that Olivia loves wine from her drinking habits. We have to be reminded of it regularly ... But if she is an expert, Olivia treats even the finest wine as if it were a can of beer. She habitually grabs goblets by the bulb rather than the stem, as a wine lover would. She never swirls and sniffs, the ritual that non-wine drinkers alternately find amusing, affected or annoying. She guzzles rather than sips. […] It can't be mere carelessness that blinds writers to her lack of technique. There are wine lovers even in Hollywood who would note such behavioral inconsistencies. It must be a matter of choice by the writers.
Asimov concludes that Olivia would seem "off-putting" were she to wine-snob it up like Frasier, which is probably true, though now the idea of a wine-identification contest where Olivia and Papa Pope face off against Niles and Frasier sounds pretty damn good.