Welcome to yet another new feature…every so often, I have a manic moment and want to post something off the wall. Sometimes, I will post something related to wine, but I can’t always make a guarantee.
When I am out visiting tasting rooms, I am often asked, “What do you do for a living?” When I say that I’m a wine blogger, people often have one of the following reactions:
- “Oh my god, I should do that! I love drinking wine. I can only imagine what it’s like to do what you do!”
- “That must be so much fun! I’m so jealous!”
For those of you who are envious of what I, along with many others, do, allow me a moment to speak freely.
Yes, as a consumer, it’s easy to see the appeal of what I, and all the other bloggers, do. Society has romanticized wine and it’s appeal. Spending time in the vineyards, talking with winemakers, five-course wine dinners cooked by one of the top chefs in the community, given VIP treatment at numerous places and events…it’s a dreamy, glamorous notion that the general public has on this industry. I’m lucky to have met a lot of great people, many of whom have become friends and confidants, who have provided me those experiences. I love what I do, and am not afraid to say that.
The side that most people don’t see is that this just like any other job. There are times when it sucks (try tasting when you’re dealing with an allergy attack, or just aren’t “with it” that day). There are times when you get frustrated because you can’t describe the wine you’ve got in your glass that you end up reading the winemakers tasting notes over and over trying to pick up what you’re missing. That kills the romantic idea, huh? How about standing in a crowded hall at a tasting, and hoping you get thirty seconds of a reps time so you know exactly what it you’re trying to help promote? Yeah. Not fun. Every industry has its downfalls and those of us in the wine world often suck it up, because we accepted the pitfalls many moons ago. As with any job, though, we are often reminded as to why we got into the lifestyle we chose. We want to help people pick the best wines for their budget, their occasion, etc.
When it comes to recommending a wine, I always keep in mind the term, “Your miles may vary.” Why? My palate is fairly sharp. I know what I like and look for in a wine, and others respect my ability to describe a wine in terms that they may not be able to verbalize. Do I have wines where I scrunch my nose and let out of a litany of curses because it’s an abomination? Of course. Do those wines make this blog? Rarely. Sometimes, you’ll see them hit my Delectable or Vivino feed. The reason for that is because those apps are good tools to have at your fingertips when you’re at the store. Keep in mind, though, that just like blogs, Delectable & Vivino are opinions from others. So if someone didn’t like it, it does NOT mean that it’s a bad wine by any stretch of the imagination. It just isn’t for that person, the one who is doing the review.
As you go along the journey of wine, you will learn more about not only yourself, but the wines themselves. For example, you’ll learn the nuances that make each wine remarkably their own. You’ll develop a preference and soon, you’ll recognize what it is you love about wine. Maybe you’ll start a blog. Maybe you’ll just impress your friends when you go out to eat by ordering an amazing bottle of wine. Who knows. You are in control of your own destiny.
How do you get to know these nuances and develop your preference? Simple. Take time to smell what’s around you! Walk through the forest and take a deep breath. Open a cigar box and see what smells await. When you make coffee in the morning, smell what’s in the canister. Walk through the garden center of your local home improvement store, smell the flowers, the herbs, the vegetable plants, and even the potting soils. Take a deep breath and make note of what you smell as you’re walking past a great restaurant in your town, because let’s face it, we’ve all got one or two like that…yeah, you know the place I’m talking about. It’s the one that you can smell the delicious dishes they’re cooking a block away. Enhancing your senses will only help your wine experience.
I don’t mean for this post to serve as a diversion for someone wanting to enter the world of wine, and subsequently wine blogging. Just remember that knowledge and success doesn’t come overnight. We developed our palates, built our audiences from scratch, faced our share of struggles, and still have days where we are ready to throw in the towel.