It’s safe to say that my love for wine began in 2006. It was my final year of University and I was tired of my usual student go-to beverage (i.e. crown & coke) and I figured wine would be a sophisticated upgrade. That’s it, simple and straightforward. I took the plunge and ended up falling head-over-heels for a Hardy’s Riesling-Gewürztraminer – an off-dry, fruity, juicy white (that’s right – I was sold for life with a bottle of bulk, cheap Aussie wine). I didn’t have a cooking clue what was actually in the the glass, or why I liked it, I just knew that I loved the memories created around drinking it and that it tasted good! Every bottle of that wine would bring conversation, laughter and atmosphere. My best friend and I would each buy a bottle (breaking our student budgets) and spend every Friday night together, either out on the town – painting it red – or on the couch – watching bad TV. It was my final year in Canada before life and young love would lead me all the way to South Africa, where I currently reside.
As my WSET 2 teacher Debi Van Flymen said, “taste is a memory” (thanks Debi!). If I were to open that bottle and take a sip it would surely take me back to that year and that time of my life. What else allows us to time travel like wine?
Wine is so much more than fermented grape juice in a bottle. Wine is a culture, it is a living, breathing thing that evolves and changes over time. Wine is exciting! Just when I learn more, I find that there is more to learn and I realize just how little I actually know. As I move forward, tasting the various grapes and styles from around the world my palate continues to evolve. I used to think there was only sweet, then I thought there was only dry…now, I love it all! I used to think the taste of oak was “yucky”, now I revel in figuring out what flavors from the oak I’m picking up. How old is the barrel? Is it French or is it American Oak? What process did the wine go through before it went into the barrel? How big was the barrel? Was it even oaked at all? I’m gaining an appreciation for every grape and every style. There is a taste for every occasion, for every food, for every season. There is no wrong way to drink it, smell it or enjoy it. As a marketer by profession I can’t even tell you how much the marketing side of wine excites me…the labels, the bottles, the presentation, the advertising. How winemakers market their brand. It’s all fascinating.
Wine is life.
Friday night I finally got the anticipated results of my WSET Level 3 exam, I had been on the edge of my seat for 8 weeks…8 whole weeks! When I saw the email in my inbox, I was terrified, words cannot describe. I held my breath and opened the email…
…I had passed!
A distinction in tasting and a Merit in written theory!
Now I move my sights to the diploma (once I’ve scraped together some pennies…sense the sarcasm?)
I can’t wait to see where this passion takes me, and I can’t wait to share it with you, the fellow wine enthusiast, the winemaker, the viticulturist, the vigneron. I’m so excited to be a part of the world wine family, even if I’m just the nerdy cousin!
Until next time,
This picture below was taken over a decade ago (when bangs were still a thing…) and when all we needed was a bottle of Hardy’s, an empty glass and each other (cue the violins).