As I finished up this Summer and early Fall, I found myself starting a new tradition: Wine Camp.
It started as a joke, I have a good friend who is a wine professional (if you are coming to tour the Hill Country, holler for his deets) and another good friend who is a proud Frenchman. As you can imagine, I haven’t looked at a wine list in their presence since. . .well EVER.
And honestly, NOT looking at the list is pretty great, because often I am the one HANDED the list. As a wine “civilian” (not working directly in the industry) my credentials *are pretty solid. I have lived in San Francisco, where trips to Napa and Sonoma are a given, I’ve traveled to other great wine countries (Argentina, South Africa, etc.), I have checked out vineyards throughout most of my travels, and I have had generous industry friends who are always happy to answer my questions. Oh, and how could I forget, I am a bona fide card carrying member of the best Hill Country wine club, the Hye Society Wine Club at William Chris Vineyards.
But that whole magic of taking a sip, pausing, and declaring a “fruit forward taste” or that “oak-y finish?” Nope. Allow me to illustrate:
Scene: Me and wine friend pour, swirl, and smell the wine.
Him: Aaahh, Oak!
Me (slightly discouraged): I smell wine
Him: SO oak-y
Me (now frustrated and wondering if I am being made fun of): yeah, just smell wine.
So with some extra evenings, and a willing guide, I started to tackle this elusive skill. Honestly, I am not sure that much progress has been made on my part, but what a great lesson in the whole “the journey is as important as the destination” school of thought.
Plus, wine camp reminds me why I am drawn to wine. Much like tea in middle eastern cultures, and maybe American coffee culture of old, it is something that brings people together with no other purpose than to be present. Wine shared in kitchens of fellow aunties, a bottle of wine ordered out, it is a message “I appreciate being in your presence, and I am happy to be here with you through these 750 milliliters.” <That may need to go on a shirt.> A “namaste” to sharing that comes easily between sips.
I hope that whether you have a purpose to your wine, tea or coffee this Fall, that much sharing of self takes place. And if you are in Austin, click here for a list of where you can get half off wine by the bottle, because we shouldn’t be rushed or spend all our money to have this time with great friends.
I’ll always have a bottle waiting for you my dear Aunties, don’t judge if a glass or two is missing – we can always find more!