Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Undocumented moments in wine | the first time I saw my wine on a shelf


The times I’ve wished ‘someone had written a guide’ to doing all the stuff left right and centre of making wine are generally the times things are not going well. Such a guide would ideally include simple but visually appealing how-to’s, extensive lists of what NOT to do, very precise FAQs and absolutely no contradictory advice from winemakers. There would be check lists and capitalised lists and if-you-win-the-lottery wish lists and lists of the things you will forget so before you do, better tear it out.


If I was its writer I could fill a good couple chapters with the things I wish someone had just told me but would invite an expert to explain stuff like dealing with the douane and what to look for when buying a pump. I'd also like a crash course on the relevant chemistry and whatever you call the field between magic and alchemy oh and some breathing exercises! One for during harvest and one for when you realise you’ve fucked something up.


But life’s not all bad! So my guide would also be a guide on navigating the insanely good, like the time I take my parents to a place I know from Before Wine that’s now i m p o r t i n g  my wine and the restaurant treats. I'm in the dark here: What, under these circumstances, would a cool person do? Or when for the first* time (the same time) I see my bottles next to bottles with actual stick-on labels made my real-life winemakers on a physical, bricks and mortar shelf? Or how to prepare for how it feels to put your wine on a pallet, wrap it with heartbreaking layers of plastic and hope your papers are in order so the transporter will accept it DID I MENTION DEALING WITH THE FEELING THAT YOUR WINE IS GOING SOMEWHERE AND IT'S GOING BY BOAT?!


If there's space towards the back it would be cool to have a list of things to say and not to say the next time I’m invited to give an informal tasting and bar staff chat. Here are some key takeaways: golden nuggets of easily recite-able info are the goal; long-winded life story not so. Also! Don’t talk down your wine! Also: breathe! First time’s happen once and life moves on fast. Maybe someone could develop an App to remind me of that.



My forever-love to the team at 40 Maltby Street and Gergovie Wines. It is a total stroke of good luck my path has loop-de-looped back to you.



*actually it's the second time, but the first (and last) was in 2018 and the wine only half mine.





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