I remember like it was yesterday. I would have been 7 maybe 8 years old and was dragged along by my parents from winery to winery across the Hunter Valley.
This had to of been the most boring day of my childhood. My sister and I were on holidays and we just wanted to do something exciting. Here we were being taken to these smelly buildings all across the countryside to listen to some old guy talk about this drink called wine and how great it was.
We would sit there patiently (or not) while the winemaker would pour a small glass of this juice for our parents and words that I have never heard of before would come out of their mouth describing how great the flavours were and what it smelt like. Why would talk about how your drink smells?
By the time we got to the third or fourth stop, and it was obvious that our campaign to head to the playground was not going to be successful, I started to be a little intrigued about what all the fuss was about.
It was about time that I was given a sip of this so-called wine. “You wouldn’t like it” says my mother. If this juice really did taste so great like all these old guys behind the counter said they did, then maybe, just maybe I would like it.
Well, enough was enough. I wasn’t going to give up until I had a taste of this magical juice. Somehow, I convinced my Dad to let me take a sniff of his wine and then BAM! Before anyone could notice, I took a sip of this white wine.
I don’t know what it was, but this wine was smooth and full of fruit. It had this tangy kind of taste and probably wasn’t something that I would want to drink much more of but the flavours were different and they definitely got me interested.
Many years later and I am still intrigued by this magical juice and how every bottle has its unique flavours and characteristics but what I have come to learn is that behind every bottle there is a story.
These winemakers that have crafted their wines with passion and hard labour, growing the fruit from the bud. It’s the artisans with this passion that craft the bottles that truly are special.
Wine is more than just an “alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice” as it is described in the dictionary. It is something we share over memories or when creating new ones, it is part of tradition, history, celebration or just what we need after a hard days work.
Wine is a magical juice. It can be mysterious at times because we hold it in such high regard and share it with the people we love most. And, it can often be a little intimidating if we don’t quite understand it.
You don’t need to be a master wine connoisseur that with one sniff you can narrow down which region in the world it was made from. In fact, I would argue that it’s better not to be too much of an expert.
Having a good understanding of wine is a great tool to have but you don’t need to over analyse every sip every time. You want to understand how to pick a great wine but you also need to embrace the mystique and savour the moments.
Do you remember your first sip?