Organizing your life around what feels good is the single wisest choice you can make. ~ Kate Northrup
For me, the word pleasure goes beyond the sensual and sexual meaning. It means being happy, content, satisfied, and joyful. For about four years, I have been following a path to more joy and less discontent. I have become impatient with accepting what is and more actively pursuing what makes me happy. Life is too short to settle for less.
When I first started writing about wine, I had no idea what I was doing. I began writing because I had become interested in wine after a “wine moment” in 2008 and participated in online Twitter tastings for about two years. After a while, I felt like I owed more to the wineries who were sending me samples. I also wanted to attend the Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thus, this website was born on June 16, 2011. In retrospect, neither reason was probably valid. I have grown to love writing, but only when it’s on my own terms. Lately, I’ve started to feel like it’s not all under my control, so I’ve been trying to change direction.
I am single, so that means that about 75% of the time, I am sitting in my tiny apartment tasting alone, writing tasting notes, then sharing them via this website and social media. For a while now, this wine tasting in solitude has bothered me. It feels more like unpaid work and less like fun. Over the course of these five years, I have learned that wine is best when shared with others. It’s a living beverage that deserves to be enjoyed in moments of life, love, friendship, food, and celebration.
Winery experiences, winemaker dinners, and wine destinations bring me pleasure. Rather than taste in my living room with a laptop in front of me and my cat beside me, I want to travel to new wine regions, taste with winemakers and vintners, explore vineyards, and enjoy wine with other people over food and conversation.
Last September when I began writing for American Winery Guide, I felt pleasure in writing that I hadn’t felt before. Finally, I was finding my niche. Looking back over the course of the past three and a half months of 2016, my happiest moments have included visits to Domaine Carneros, Madrigal Winery, Patz & Hall, MacLaren Tasting Lounge, and a work-related research day spent at Schweiger Vineyards, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Paraduxx, and Celani Family Vineyards. I’ve attended fantastic winery events at Flora Springs, Miner Family Wines, Ehlers Estate, Passaggio Wines, and MacLaren Wine Company. Having wine industry peers like The Drunken Cyclist, Dallas Wine Chick, and Jean-Baptiste Tarel of Cave de Turckheim and Cave du Roi Dagobert visit where I work, Ehlers Estate, warms my heart and soul. Wine moments like these bring me joy and inspire me to be true to myself and what makes me happy.
As I write this, though, I am home alone, again, tasting an amazing wine from work and wishing you were tasting it with me, wishing I were tasting this with our winemaker, wishing that I were walking through that section of the vineyard with my glass in hand, touching the grapevines and smelling the soil. The 2013 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc, Saint Helena ($60), is one of those wines that tastes so darn good, you know that the written word won’t do it justice. It’s crafted from 100% organic, 100% estate cabernet franc from our loamy soils. It’s powerful, yet retains a sense of balance and elegance from Old World, hands-on production techniques, from vineyard, to tank, to barrel, to bottle. Black fruits, vanilla, and spices envelope the palate. The finish goes on forever and frankly, I don’t want to stop sipping it. This wine is the result of outstanding terroir, vineyard management, and winemaking that I am blessed to witness on a daily basis. Just so you know, I have eight bottles to share. Who’s in for some cabernet franc pleasure? Mark my words, it would be even better if we were drinking it together.
Over the coming months, I will gradually shift my focus to more pleasurable wine and travel writing. This means less frequent writing and fewer isolated, random wine reviews, but more meaningful writing, replete with real-life experiences and moments. I will continue to share wine and winery experiences at American Winery Guide and Snooth. I will stop feeling guilty about trying to be inspired by every wine sample I receive and feeling a sense of obligation to write about what doesn’t move me. I’m choosing to go, do, and live a wine- and travel-filled life and share the best of the best with you. Pleasure, what feels good, is indeed the single wisest choice I can make for both myself and for you, the readers.