I still think the best way to learn about wine and wine regions around the world is to save up your pennies and head on out there. If you spend a couple of weeks in the vines in amongst the winemakers and farmers, with the wine, the food, the scenery, the weather…well, it all kind of falls into place.
I only really started being more serious about wine three or four years ago. I didn’t grow up with lots of wine in the house either. I’m also more of a blogger/experience person than a full on wine journo or professional taster. Effectively I’m just making plenty of excuses here as to why my palate is nowhere near as tuned to tasting different wines as I‘d like it to be.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s getting better, but maybe not fast enough to sit my final exam for my WSET Diploma that’s coming up on the horizon when my brain wants to let me. So when I found out the brilliant Anne McHale MW was running tasting workshops for people looking to improve their technique then it was an absolute no-brainer.
That constant niggle of whether I’m doing the right thing by trying to ram my way into the wine industry never wants to go away. I grew up as an introverted maths geek, became a reluctant finance geek, and then a very angry young man working in an office somewhere in London. I don’t miss those days one little bit, but sometimes I’m constantly battling with myself about whether this wine thing will work out, and if I’m actually any good at it. Well, some weeks are better than others…
I’ve no idea why it happened, but this weekend something clicked in me, and weirdly in most of my classmates in the final year of our WSET Diploma. The panic in terms of the volume of work has set in and I’m absolutely shitting it!!
Sitting in a lecture room used to bore me to tears. I loved studying maths at uni, but lectures went so quick that I mostly lost the plot after 5 minutes and sat there for the next 55 minutes scribbling as quick as I could and trying not to forget to breath. And the WSETs came along, and out went Galois Theory and Monte Carlo simulations and in came tasting glasses and spit buckets. Happy days!
Old Habits Die Hard
It’s funny though, there are a few people in the classes that still haven’t kicked the old school habits. I’m definitely included in this! The lecturer asks a question, half the class (the geeks and know-it-alls) throw their hands up and pray their answer merits being put on the board. Everyone else (the too-cool-for-school kids) just roll their eyes and write it down. I’ll let you guess which one I am 🙂
Saved By The Bell
It was making me chuckle all day on Monday, even down to the bit where everyone packs their things away, slowly but surely, a little bit early to try and be the first out the door when the bell goes. Well, there isn’t a bell, but you get the point.
The lectures have changed, the subject’s changed, but we haven’t clearly!
PHOTO: From the Huffington Post
I’ve had a complete shocker. Well I have and I haven’t. In the sense that I haven’t I’ve been hugely privileged to be invited on this amazing trip to Napa and Sonoma with the Californian Wine Institute in March. I genuinely can’t wait, I’ve heard so many amazing things about the West Coast of the US and the chance to go over there with a bunch of wine-o’s is fantastic. Slight issue being is that I was meant to take a couple of WSET Diploma exams that week, so I’ve had to move them. And I’ve just found out where to!
Normally I don’t really give much mind to New Year’s Eve. Just cos a digit at the end of the year is ticking over once, who cares, right? Forced merriness? No thanks! But this year, for some reason, as we’ve now said goodbye to 2016, I think it’s the first time in my life I’ve genuinely felt great to say bye to the year before and bring on 2017!
Last few weeks I’ve been trying to kick myself up the proverbial arse to get reading my WSET (wine exams) books again. I’m only half way through the 2 year Diploma programme. Most people I did year one with have already started, if not finished it, taking their 6th and final exam a couple of weeks back. For a couple of reasons I didn’t do it with them, so the onus is on me to get online and sign up to finish it all off as soon as I can. But it’s not as easy as all that!
Not sure who’ll remember, but at the end of last year I was finishing up my first year of the WSET Dilpoma. I had to do a piece of coursework on…and I’m not making this up…the Renaissance in Gin! What a great topic?! But the journey from starting it to it finishing (last week) was a bit on the strange side!
So me and my class mates from the WSET Diploma Year 1 are just getting our final year one marks back. There are six units in the whole 2 year program, and you do units 1, 2, and 6 in the first year. I nailed 2, I scraped through 6, and it looks like I’ve done pretty well in 1. I will take that all day long! So it’s time to start thinking about year 2…