Polishing glasses post service does not often spark inspiration. One glass after the next, it is mindless work. No surprises there. Topics of conversation between colleagues often range from the mundane, “how was your night?” all the way to “let’s chat about 2012 Sauternes”. You can never really guess where things will land. One upside of these winding conversations is that moments of realisation can strike when least expected. Especially between wine professionals.
They say that if you answer a question with your gut reaction, that is your real answer. I tend to believe that. Dancing around answers with frilly words is a classic technique for avoiding an undesired truth, or covering a lack of knowledge. We all know that feeling. So, when Friday’s polishing conversation took a turn to “why do you want to get into wine?” and my response was “because I like to learn”, my gut took over. That was my real answer.
That immediate response gave me the light I have been so desperately seeking throughout this pandemic. I had been questioning if starting a career in wine was the best move. The pressures of COVID-19, financially, socially and career-wise had been playing on my mind. Should I take the more risk averse path and stick to my desk job? Let’s be real, questions like that were draining my sparkle. Y’all know my mental health has not been great lately. Thank god, in that moment, I knew I had made the right decision. It was as though I had explained my new career to myself. All while polishing a glass.
Like so many, I am interested in wine because it is delicious and makes each day a little bit better. But, above that, I am interested in wine because I am hungry to learn. Seeking knowledge of the world has grown into a strong craving and wine is the lens through which I can peer deeper. You’re dreaming, you say. Hear me out.
There are few things in this world that touch so many parts of life. When talking about wine, we can (and do!) nut out elements of history and cultural practice, the science behind vineyard management and winemaking techniques, as well as the best enjoyable ways to drink the stuff. As a start, that is. This wealth of content is priceless. There will never be a person who can claim to know everything about wine. If they do, then don’t listen, as they are a BS artist.
Learning is not just about studying the pages of a textbook. It also translates to the conversations shared over a few glasses. Call me romantic, but wine seems to have some kind of power that lifts the veil of pretend things like “saying what I should say”, or “what does this person want to hear”. When you have a glass of wine, you tend to say what you feel or think in that moment. Listening to these thoughts be set free is pretty damn good. A conversation over wine ticks all of the magical moment boxes, if you will.
Wine is to be enjoyed. Wine is to be studied. Wine is to be shared. All of these possibilities lead to learning. Good thing I like to enjoy, study, share and learn.