I’ve had the most wonderful news over the weekend. One of my former wine students decided to pursue a career in wine. I am flabbergasted… I must have done something right.
For those who would like to follow in our footsteps and pursue a career in wine, here are some tips I’ve given him:
1) Don’t be a wine snob – Nothing spoils knowledge than sticking to the Grand Crus… And nothing but. Unfortunately, too many wine people have fallen into this trap… They take themselves far too seriously and put off every new blood that wants to get into wine. I’ve had my own fair share of horrible experiences with these people. It’s sad… Some of them don’t even have a sense of humor anymore.
Hence this blog, really. I can write a more clinical version of a beverage blog, but deliberately choose not to. I choose to be the anti-wine writer. I say it again: We need new blood in this industry and we need to stop scaring other people by throwing hifaluting wine terms to newbies and making them feel stupid. Also, there is merit to affordable or sweet wines… One musn’t ostracize the other for his personal preference.
2) Travel – The best way to learn about wines is to BE in the wine houses. That way you can have a conversation with people who are part of the culture and history of the wine you are consuming. I always say that a glass of wine is a reflection of the place it comes from… Its history, beliefs, practices, and people. I love travelling, and drinking wine makes me feel like I am travelling through a glass. If you’re in the actual vineyards, do ask questions. This is the winemaker’s magnum opus… They will be so happy to answer your questions.
3) Read – I understand that travelling may not be an affordable option. In this regard, READ. EVERYTHING is available online these days… One hardly has an excuse not to research. I find hardbound wine books more romantic and prefer them over the internet, but at the end of the day, there is so much information out there.
4) Eat and Drink – As much as you can, as often as you could (within reason!). Each wine is different and similar in so many ways… The only way for you to understand that is to keep trying wine. Since we are talking about career drinking, I highly suggest avoiding the drink altogether if you’re emotional (good or bad). Not only will you not be objective in your evaluations, but this can potentially lead to using alcohol as an emotional crutch… First steps to alcoholism.
Wine cannot exist without food and vice versa (see previous post on food and wine pairing). Try many combinations. Try eating food that is indigenous to the wine region. Talk to chefs.
5) Share – Wine involves a lot of knowledge acquired over time. Share your learnings and discoveries. Keep it less about you and more about the wine… The “you” will follow. Be happy for others who get into the industry, don’t shoot them down. Let them begin and tell their stories.
Starting out? Need help? Let me know how I could assist you. Let’s do this over a bottle or two. 😉 Cheers!