Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Look out! Look out!
Well, This is it. Time to start yet another new wine blog. You might have noticed my title, "Accidental Wine." For my first trick, I'll explain it.
Pretty much all things wine related are accidental. Wine was probably accidentally discovered, rather than invented. It was made by trial and error for about 9,500 years (pretty good for guesswork, huh?). Not to mention, for a good vintage to happen, it takes several concurrent accidents of sunlight, drainage, water, fog, wind, soil and just plain luck.
And, last but not least, I came to wine by accident.
I spent 10 years earning a doctoral degree in political science from Texas A&M University. Political Science is an interesting field and it certainly changed the way I view the world, but I seem to be too practical for the theoretical world.
I know a lot about food, so I took a temporary job at a 70,000 square foot speciality grocery store. After six months of handling customer requests and researching new products, my boss simply said one day:
"Oh yeah - you're now in the wine department."
I basically knew three things about wine at this point - 1) it is made with grapes; 2) they put it in bottles; and 3) I didn't like the stuff.
So there I was, so NOT an oenophile. It's not like I didn't have any opportunities to learn about it. In 1988-89, I lived in Geneva, Switzerland, which is just a stone's throw from two of the world's best wine regions, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. What did I drink in this vineyard paradise? Beer. Cheap, badly made, French beer.
In 1993-95, I lived in Los Gatos, California, where I was minutes from wineries in Santa Cruz, Monterey and just two hours from Napa and Sonoma counties. Did I avail myself of this grapey bounty? Nope. Kept drinking beer.
Five years later, I was forced to learn about wine. Even worse, I had to be able to sell it to people. I had to learn to sell people something I didn't like or I'd stop getting paid.
Here it is, four years since I started this little venture and I've not only been able to learn it, I'm getting pretty good at it. Just two years into my wine career, I was asked by one of the editors of Fort Worth Star-Telegram to submit a sample column. I did that for nine months. I also teach most of the wine classes where I work and have passed the first section of the Master Sommelier program.
Mind you, I don't know it all and never will. Anybody who says they know everything about wine is either a fool or an idiot. That's one of the things I like about wine - it's so varied and fascinating you should never be bored.
There you have it. That's why I titled this Accidental Wine.
As a closing note, one of the things I love most about wine is the conversations that often accompany it. I don't intend for this blog to be my pontifications about wine. I'm not interested in that. Sure, I'll have opinions and, well, I'm not afraid to voice them. What I'd really like this blog to be, though, is a conversation about wine.
Bring a glass - I have wine.