Updated: Apr 18, 2020
I think most wannabes have this idea that in an ideal situation, they could literally just absorb the knowledge and experience of someone whose knowledge and experience they admire, and that would be the greatest thing in the world. “I wish I knew as much as you do,” they say. “I just want to get to your level,” they say. Well, they said wrong.
How boring would it be if we all developed the same knowledge? Can you imagine what the presidential debates would be like if every politician thought the same way? What a starved world we would be for entertainment.
I’ve come out of the gates in this little blog in a pretty didactic manner. Do I think I can help you get better at wine? You bet your ass I do. Do I think that if you take an approach similar to mine that you are gonna know a lot more in a year from now? Hell yeah. But you’re not me. You never wore a frilly, purple, polka dotted girls one-piece bathing suit as a child and didn’t have your parents worry about which side you were on. You were never the kid that the jocks thought was too artsy for them or that the artsy kids thought was too jockish for them. I was. You might not have been. But it doesn’t matter.
The point in this snackable chapter is that throughout all of your research, you need to get over the idea that, “oh, well, so-and-so whose certified said this,” and “Mr. Dickweed who my buddy knows has a big wine collection and he said this”. Sure, sometimes, you’ll recognize that someone is speaking and you’ll be interested in what they have to say. I’ve had a ton of experiences where I genuinely learned valuable lessons from people who were further down the road on their journey than I was on mine. But, you’ve got to listen to your own little voice first. Protect that inkling inside of you that says, “this somm seems like a whackjob,” or “I can’t figure out why this guy is stroking himself off THIS aggressively to this sauvignon blanc.”
This whole book is a lesson in getting comfortable with two incompatible truths. The whole practice of understanding wine is a giant contradiction with exception after exception. The only way to feel good about it is to be comfortable saying to yourself, “you know, I think that Ian Cauble is an idiot,” while also recognizing that you could probably learn something from him.
Most people you talk to suck at wine. Especially the ones who say they don’t. So while that shouldn’t give you license to be a jerk in public or tell people that you’re great, it certainly gives you license to not feel inadequate about your knowledge and ability. You’re not as dumb as you think. So be careful who you listen to.
And that includes me.