Updated: Apr 18, 2020
I am sitting here on the bed, which is my de-facto desk, as my fiancée's more clear-cut office complete with desktop sharing, Zoom calls, conference calls, and file folders dominates the kitchen table, and rightfully so. I've always done a lot of work in bed. I think it stems from procrastinating on term papers in college. Working all night and then into the morning. I just ended up doing a lot from bed. And I still do. Not always. But often.
I was think about an image that I saw in an airplane magazine before I ever even got a job in the alcoholic drinks business as a sales assistant/merchandiser for the infamous Mike's Hard Lemonade brand. I was on my way to Croatia with my family for a wedding, flipping through the EnRoute Magazine or whatever the pseudo-lifestyle equivalent was on this British Airways flight, once again having failed to bring my own sturdier form reading material. I saw a picture of a mean-looking bastard with a goatee and longish hair, wearing a black half-zip sweater under a black blazer, pouring wine for some people in suits. This guy looked like a Bond villain. But he looked so cool. I can't remember who he was working for, but he was the sommelier for an winery in Mendoza. I just remember thinking how cool it would be to do that one day, to look like that and be able to take people through an unreal experience like that.
Then I met my mentor. He was basically this guy from the magazine, only with a screw loose upstairs and instead of a mean stare, he had this permanent, toothy smile that made him look like he was always cracking up. Which, I think he was. And he looked a little less like a Bond villain, and more like a professor. Tweed jackets over sweaters or button-down shirts and this beige pair of jeans he always wore. It was I who would later assume the Bond villain attire, donning black turtle necks under fitted black slacks and velvet blazers.
He adopted me as a drinking buddy, basically, and let me say everything stupid that I possibly could about wine. We almost barely even talked about wine. And I think that was kind of the key. He kind of just allowed me to be in the room while he did his thing with wine, and I just observed. He'd sit with me and bring me blind tastings, and as stupid as I was in assessing them, he just let me make a fool of myself, and as sick a sense of humour that he had, never laughed and never made me feel dumb. He'd make wine jokes, come up with ridiculous tasting notes, make extended jokes with customers writing letters to them as the wines he was selling. I thought it was all just so funny, and I would try to copy his sense of humour, eventually learning how to put my own spin on things.
He set me up to teach myself.
And I hope that I can do that for you. I want to help give you that first image. If I seem confident about wine, about my ability to source great wine for myself, about my ability to discover the hidden gems in the world, about my ability to be excited about whatever it is I am drinking, about my ability to talk about it at length, and about my ability to have fun while learning...then maybe you'll see that as something that you want. Maybe you'll see that, "hey, look at him. If he can do it, I can do it." Because you can.
I am just a guy who saw a picture of a fancy wine guy on a plane and thought, "wow, it would be amazing to do what he does some day." I thought it would be at least 10 years. It just goes to show you that when you completely open up to something, it's amazing how far you can get in a short period of time.