I’ve always had a good relationship with wine – we’re tight. I grew up in a house where there was a healthy attitude towards drinking wine – my parents drank red wine with dinner (not all dinners, and mostly with a roast on a Sunday). We also went to France as a family, with friends, almost every summer when I was young, and I remember wine being very present…
As a small child, I was able to try a sip of wine if I asked to; it was never a big deal or a mystery to me (naive child). The first time I ever got tipsy was on red wine when I was about 14. I had asked for a glass with dinner, then asked for another glass, and then just kept topping myself up after that. Uh-oh!
University ruined wine for a lot of people. As a student dancing in the S.U. with a £5 bottle of Jack Rabbit and a straw, that kind of thing. I recall the £5 bottles of wine, but never the straw – even then I was fussy about glassware!!
It was around that time that I started getting into wine. My housemates and I were trying our hand at throwing dinner parties (not the sophisticated ones – the other ones). I started to notice the kind of wines that I liked and the kind of wines I didn’t. I liked easy drinking Italian reds (I ate A LOT of pasta back then), like Valpolicella and Montepulciano. Rioja entered my life around then too – a spicy, Spanish revelation to me.
More holidays, more dinners, more years, and I’d become a bit of a wine snob. Not a completely insufferable one; I still bought wine at the supermarket, still on a budget, but I knew what I liked and I was beginning to know what was good. A wine tasting when I was about 23 at Great Western Wines in Bath peeled the rest of the scales from my eyes – I learned about what went into making a bottle of wine, the cost of the bottle and the cork, why the wine might be good, why the wine might be bad, and what to look for in a glass of wine.
More years, more trips abroad, more dinners (now in London, at some amazing restaurants), and then finally setting up a business with my friend, working with restaurants, running their social media and marketing. I realised I worked faster and with more fervour every time the subject was wine. I loved writing quirky descriptions for a wine list, and my mouth watered at the thought of tasting them all. Wine was clearly a huge passion of mine that went further than drinking it, and I wanted to know more.
A conversation at a wine tasting led me the next day to book in the introductory WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) course at the school on Bermondsey Street. I loved it. Now I’m about to embark on the WSET 2 and set alight a career in wine! I look forward to a long, happy wino life where the glass is always half full – and then some.