A Wine Writing Exercise: What Wine Changed Your Life? #That1stSip

Wine Tasting Rooms in Barolo

Ready for a wine writing exercise?

Over the weekend a post from wine blog The Academic Wino caught my attentoin: What Wine Changed Your Life?: A Brief Exercise from the 2015 Symposium for Wine Writers . I quickly scanned for the exercise and waited till I’d done my time before reading the curator’s narrative. 

The wine writing exercise… 

>> Set a timer for 5 minutes.
>> Write about the wine that changed your life.

I set my timer and here’s what came out:

It was called Clay Station Petite Sirah from Lodi, Calif. I was waiting tables at a Denver-area restaurant. They had us taste the food and the wine specials so we could better sell them to customers. I am sure it was a fruity oak bomb. I really don’t recall. I just remember that I loved it at first sip. But, it wasn’t just the wine in my mouth that made me love it. My love expanded in seeing what the wine allowed me to do. I’m not talking about liquid courage. I sold the crap out of that wine. I loved it so much I would recommend it to every customer who wanted a red wine. I sold it by the glass, by the bottle, to couples, to singles, to wine lovers, to beer drinkers, and everyone in between. The most fascinating thing to me was that my customers actually loved it, too. I can’t even imagine what my non-wine-knowing-26-year-old sales pitch could possibly have been to sell the amount of wine that I did  back then. I didn’t know crap about wine. I couldn’t taste anything but grapes on the palate or smell them on the nose. I just knew that I liked it. And, my energy was so contagious that it got other people excited to try it. And, they liked it. They really, really liked it. That Clay Station Petite Sirah taught me that the real beauty in wine is in the sharing and the experience. And, that I could make people happy with wine. With that, I was hooked. 

After my timer beeped I read The Academic Wino’s writing exercise. And, then I went back through mine. Despite the world of wine being so focused on individual wines and the associated numbers, both writings were about the feelings and experiences that wine evokes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love when I am blessed with sharing an old bottle of something extra special. But, the true beauty is not really in the points, the price, or the vintage. It’s about the sense of community that comes with opening a bottle and sharing it with others. It makes every wine experience feel like that first sip.

A Wine Writing Exercise: What Wine Changed Your Life? #At1stSip#That1stSip

I’d love to read prose from some of my favorite wine bloggers and writers. So, I’m nominating five to do the wine writing exercise. When you have finished yours, nominate five more people. Tag your post with #That1stSip so we can read the stories of our fellow wine lovers.

#That1stSip Wine Writing Challenge Nominations from Girl’s Gotta Drink:

Song Pick! At Last, Etta James

Tags from the story
More from Valerie Quintanilla
The ABC Guide to Piedmont Wine
Piedmont Wine Guide – The Quick Facts: Italy (spelling): Piemonte, ‘the foot of...
Read More
8 replies on “A Wine Writing Exercise: What Wine Changed Your Life? #That1stSip”
  1. says: Cathy Huyghe

    2005 Trimbach Muscat. This is the wine that won me over. This is the wine I return to, when I want to remember why I fell in love with wine in the first place. This is the wine that chronicles my “initiation” into the joy of wine. It is also the wine that I have followed through the years, and through many different teachers. The first “teacher” was Cat Silirie, of the Barbara Lynch restaurant group in Boston, during an event about the wines of Alsace. It smelled luscious, and orange, and like white flowers. There was a bit of honey on the palate, but it finished bone dry. This wine won me over because there was ALL THAT happening in the glass, in one sip, in one momentary experience! It opened a whole new world for me to explore…

    1. Thank you, Cathy! We visited Alsace early 2014 and i just fell in love. It’s a very special place, making special wines.

      I love your description, “This wine won me over because there was ALL THAT happening in the glass, in one sip, in one momentary experience!”

      Wine just gives so much, doesn’t it!?


  2. says: Evan Byrne

    I realise this is a bit late, especially considering our relationship, but mine was a 1990 Puligny-Montrachet by Louis Jadot. I was at university and for some reason decided to spend a large sum on a bottle of wine, having been used to £1.99 Romanian Pinot Noir.
    I bought the white and, upon opening it, realised immediately that it was quite different to my usual standard: suddenly I could understand why people spent so much on wine.
    It did literally change my life, since, because of that bottle, I am now in the wine industry, and met my lovely – and talented – wife in Serralunga. All because I tried that bottle over 20 years ago…:-)

    1. Ciao, amore! I tried to find that bottle to give to you for our first Christmas together. You introduced me to a whole new magical wine world when you brought a white burgundy to drink with me that week we met. Sigh.

      Ti amo!

Comments are closed.