STORIES

For the love of wine

 Porrón drinking, yet another one of those acquired wine skills

Porrón drinking, yet another one of those acquired wine skills

I realized I fell in love with wine when I didn’t have to think about it anymore – that feeling when it becomes second nature, like when a musician picks up his guitar or when a toddler figures out how to get up a set of stairs. After the first few times you don’t think about it anymore, but you learn how to do it better, and then you keep doing that, and again, and again…

I still consider myself young to the world of wine, but the magic exists in that there’s still so much that I don’t know, as if I’ve looked up to the sky and seen some constellations, but know there are multitudes of galaxies out there waiting to be seen. 

-----

I was raised with this idea that an education only served you if you had Type-A dreams of becoming a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer; dreams of my parents’ and dreams that were unrealistic. The conversation is fresh in my memory: the crestfallen look on my mother's face, the heavy sigh, the resigned 'yes' after the very confused 'why?' 

I got into the service industry when I was in college, and fell in love with it not only because of the moneymaking potential but also because of its very vulnerable human side. These guests were people you were feeding. At its heart, it is a restorative industry; we feed, we nourish, we replenish. We were indoctrinated with the idea that guests weren't visiting a restaurant, they were visiting your home. To make them feel warm and welcome like we had known each other for a long, long time was a skill I would grow to love to hone. 

It wasn’t long before I had to develop a very specific skill set for this endeavor. You can go to school all you want but nothing prepares you to improvise like working in a busy restaurant. I had to learn on the job and on the spot because there wasn’t a lesson plan if you 86’d a pizza or if the table lingered for another half hour. 

The upside was that after a long shift, the restaurant offered a shift drink. The rest, as they say, is history. 

-----

One of the first bottles of wine I ever really fell in love with was a bottle of Alsace Blanc that made me want to scream at the world because I wanted everyone to feel what I was feeling. I kept telling people to taste the wine. But after I’d offer them a sip, I’d gulp it down in one go. 

Now I’m a lot less brusque in my drinking approach but nevertheless that feeling of wanting to convey my excitement persists. The first time I tried Krug Clos du Mesnil I was mesmerized and looked at my friend as I was tasting. My eyes widened, my heart raced a bit, my palms got clammy.

I was a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert.