Go Broke. For Wine.

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Christmas 2016 for one, please.

 In solitude to the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, I unexpectedly found myself celebrating the holiday alone in Dallas (translate: no tree, no turkey, no gifts, no people). The mental silence and surrounding stillness of my empty apartment found me posturing as Socrates the Thinker:

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” ~ Socrates.

One week later on the eve of 2017, in Socratic fashion I concluded how little I knew [right then] about life, myself, and the world around me.  Moved to unsettled rebellion by this revelation, I broke NYE tradition and opted out of setting “new year, new me” resolutions.  It seemed better to stick to, and improve on the same old me rather than recreate myself and risk the shallow grave of resolutions past.  Aiming to understand more of me to become better at me, I sought to draw inspiration out of what I find pleasure in, or do a lot of.   To find a voice of authenticity within myself and raise the volume, I asked:

“Self, why do you love what you love?  Why do you give time, mental space, energy to these loves?  How did they come to exist?  Do they serve you, and how are you serving others in return?”  

That inner dialogue manifested into the accountability of self challenge.  Where was I mediocre?  Where was I lacking? Was I really, dare I admit . . . just a poser at the things I love?

Challenge …… accepted!   Instinctively, my magnets were identified as Yoga, Golf, Wine.  Starting with yoga, I set out for everything I could find to elevate my practice.  Hit the mat regularly.  Subscribed to Yoga Journal.  Bought Books.  Read more, read everything.  Try more.  Be a YES for finding the peak of a difficult posture, grasp the edge of what I think my limits are – and go deeper in.  Eat authenticity for breakfast.

Next, wine.  This complex, timeless liquid has been described as “bottled poetry” and “proof that God loves us”. Well, duh?! I mean, there was the day my daughter was born.  And then there is wine shipment day.  Wine accompanies me at end of a long day, in moments of celebration, of curiosity, of relaxation. It is there when I want to travel, but don’t want to leave home.  Rasied in the viticultural richness of Paso Robles, California, my earliest childhood memories take me back to limousine rides with my parents exploring the wine regions of California’s Central Coast. Entire weekends were spent traversing dirt roads from one vineyard tasting room, to another.  My first memories of tasting rooms recall my parents in an unfamiliar air of sophistication, aromas of freshly pulled cork, echos of clinking wine glasses, sounds of chatter and happy drunk people. Memories so rich they are as vivid today as when they first occurred back in the early 80’s.  My “I wanna do it too” tasting notes from those trips insightfully revealed where to find the BEST cheese, crackers, apple juice boxes, fine chocolates, and made record of the vineyards with friendly pets on the property (then: York Mountain – now: Epoch Estate Wines). Oh, how I loved exploring our local wineries in the heat of the summers and the harvest of fall, adorned in the laughter of my parents, family and friends.  Wine for me – is in my happiest memories, in my best adult moments, in my spirit.  It did, and does, make me a happy girl.

To be more than a gluttonous consumer, and true to the year-of-no-resolutions, I started clicking through the Internet like it was a game of Pin-the-Tail on the Donkey.   I blindly downloaded the International Wine & Spirits Guild course catalog.  At the time, I couldn’t recognize the ISG from the Harvard Business Review, but what made sense was that I felt happy.  Finally, something in the flesh of my hand that had previously been an unrecognized daydream – becoming a Sommelier.  I started to peek.  Read.  Watch.  Drink.  Think.  And selfishly, so on.  It’s just where my year was at on December 31, 2016.

Today with The Client Bar launched, I have a disciplined yoga practice and improved body strength to write about.  In wine, I’ve got online accountability that I’ve steered the trails in pursuit of certification, a.k.a. my rabbit hole of reading, sniffing, swirling, describing, tasting, and spitting.  Right now, I’d like this certification before year’s end.  The faint at heart shall not apply.

Member: GuildSomm, Napa Valley Wine Academy & WSET Global Subscribed.  Time to get real, the rubber hits the road now.

Next: TEXSOM 2017 in August.  Volunteer opportunities have been filled for 2017 but I determine to find myself polishing 30k Riedels there someday.  And drinking the magnificent volunteer wines offered to conference rats like me.  For now, I think I will just drive down to check out the conference, and do what I do best – network.

Current reading list: 

  • Windows on the World
  • World Atlas of Wine
  • Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert
  • The Judgement of Paris
  • Reading Between the Vines
  • Wine Folly
  • The Spirituality of Wine
  • The Wine Bible

and, for inspiration:

  • Cork Dork

I’ll try to keep it interesting . . . . .

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