The Wine that Changed It All: #That1stSip
Becca, the Academic Wino, shared a writing exercise from the recent professional wine writers conference where writers took just 5 minutes to write about “what wine changed our life”. Some of my blogging buddies have taken up the challenge, so I joined them today. If you’re interested in reading or writing, tweet about it at #That1stSip. Remember: 5 minutes, no cheating!
The Wine That Changed It All
The wine that changed it all: Wind Gap Sonoma Coast Syrah. But it wasn’t just a wine, it was a person, a place, a wine and a point in time. I had gotten interested in wine, and we were on our first wine touring trip to Sonoma. I had yet to really understand the difference between wine as a “brand” and wine as the product of a person, or a family or small team. Before the trip, we did our research and set up a number of visits at wineries, some big and a few small.
This one was special. Following an email inquiry, Susan Larossa, the marketing department (and many other things) at Wind Gap had given me a call! Julie and I showed up at the winery, which was an old fruit processing facility. No fancy tasting room, no sign. At first, we didn’t think this could be it, but we wandered around and went in the open garage door to meet Susan. Tasting through the wines, we realized these were different from the vast majority of wines we had tried from California. Among the Wind Gap wines, I was struck by the Sonoma Coast Syrah. Intense, but lighter in color and body than most I had tasted, this was clearly a different animal. I asked more questions.
Suddenly, a link started to emerge. Just as I had learned about the difference between supermarket convenience and the locally grown fresh foods I could find at my farmers market, so too, there was a difference between the wine from a “brand” and the wine from a small winery. I could understand why spending a bit more on a bottle of wine would be worthwhile. The same reason I had stopped buying Kraft cheese and started supporting local small farm produced cheese. This one day, one visit, one wine set me on a course to find and enjoy wines that are a reflection of the land, the climate and the people who shepherd the grapes from vine to bottle.
5 minutes, pens down. What’s the wine that changed your life?