When you’re trying to get better at things like writing or talking in front of crowds you can do a lot worse than learning from boys and girls who have been doing it for years. That’s not to say they’re old buggers or anything, more that they’ve got the gig down to a fine art. In recent press trips I’ve done and food festivals I’ve attended I’ve been making the odd mental note here and there, and hopefully picking the brains of those who know the ropes.
This was a bit of a timely trip for me this one, and a timely post for anyone in the UK reading this. We’re about to have a vote on whether to remain as members of the EU or not. Problem being is that the only things we, in the UK, ever hear about the EU is all the negative stuff. From the insane fisheries policies to banning prawn cocktail crisps, the papers in the UK are more than ready to stick the boot into the system. It’s hard to see the good that it does. And then I visited Romania…
I got called out by Phil Cox from Cramele Recas during a tasting we did at his place. I’ve always been of the school of thought that to make a difference as an up and coming wine region it’s important to promote your local varieties. I didn’t tell him that was my view, but he got it out there as something daft that wine bloggers seem to write, without looking at the bigger picture. I sheepishly apologised after he pointed out why I’m talking out my arse.
When you’re lucky enough to get invited to one of these press trips you kind of expect to be worked hard. Of course you are! The wineries or the PR company are paying for your hotel and flights and grub and wine (natch!), so they want to fit as much into the days as possible. So our daft o’clock flight to Bucharest on the Wednesday morning was a shock to the system, but it did mean we got to see more of this lovely country.
It can be tough for someone from my generation to grasp recent history. I was born in the early 80s, so I do remember communism, but didn’t really know what it was or what it did. The worst thing I realized it had done was give David Hasselhoff another excuse for an out-of-tune sing song. Getting to talk to the winemakers in Romania was a pretty eye opening experience.
I’ve just come back from a week out in Romania. It was a good thing that most of us on the trip were there with a relatively blank slates as far as the country goes. I’d sure never been before, and had only just started to try one or two of the wines being made there and filtering through onto UK supermarket shelves. So given that was my experience of Romanian wine, it was a pretty apt thing we got to spend time with a couple of the big boys during the week!
I’m about to open you up to my complete ignorance. You’ve got to understand that I’ve not travelled much in Eastern Europe, and I’ve never ever been to Romania. Before a couple of years back my entire repertoire of knowledge consisted of their football team bleaching their hair in 1998 and a bit of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Another upshot of being in the wine industry is that all this farcically poor level of knowledge can’t last forever!
Tough old week last week as a couple of bits of news knocked me and my annoying anxiety issue all over again. I’ll get onto that news some other time, but thankfully it only took 2 days to get my head back straight this time. That’s pretty big progress for me!