Did I Just Get Asked My Opinion?


A friend of mine in Italy is a young winemaker called Ale. He’s 20 (or is it 21?) so is still very much a newbie in the world of winemaking, but has been churning out some of the best Barbera (Piemontese red wine grape) I’ve tried for a long time. But, being a young man, he’s always trying to push his boundaries, and at the minute it’s all about making a traditional method sparkling wine. It’s not an easy technique to master, so when I was round the other evening we had a taste of a couple, and he asked me what I thought. 

Hold up! What? What do I think? Why the piss would he care what I think? What the hell would I know about any of this? Oh yeah, wait, I’m meant to be “in the industry”. So I told him, and all of a sudden this flurry of stuff was coming out of my voice box. He was nodding and giving it the old “mmmm, interesting!” kind of thing. God help me, was I actually making sense?

I think no matter what you do in life, it’s always a watershed moment when someone turns round, and in all seriousness asks you “what do you think?” Me? You want to know what I think? Now I know some people wouldn’t worry about that, but for someone like me who had their self confidence shattered by a rather difficult illness in the recent past (get the violins out guys and girls), it’s just incredible and never seems quite real to me.

I still, to this day, think everyone else on the planet knows more about everything than I do. I can meet some random Joe on the street who knows nothing about wine, football, cricket, banking (*cough*), or anything else for that matter. One comment from them though that is an even remotely well structured sentence and my brain tells me this guy is the master and I’m an underling. It’s a shit way to go through life, and I’m trying to change it round, but clearly I’m not there yet.

So when Ale turned round to me the other evening, and in all seriousness asked me what I thought, I was beaming. Don’t get me wrong, I kept my English reserved cool about it all, but I was beaming. He won’t have realised that at all, but thanks so much mate. You made my week!




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