Updated: Apr 18, 2020
You may have been wondering: what is a drunken sommelier? Why would a drunken sommelier be helpful to me? If the sommelier is drunk, should he be giving advice, or maybe taking a nap?
That is the question.
But in all seriousness, it's a fitting exercise to answer this age-old question of "What's in a name?", not just for all you cool cats and kittens out there, but also, for yours truly.
•We want to help those who are dying to take their wine knowledge to the next level learn in a more meaningful and impactful way, faster.
•We want to make that education process more fun, interactive, and interesting, with the hope that it will stick with you for longer and that you'll more easily be able to share it with others.
•We want to help make wine seem less serious and more approachable without sacrificing the development of your intellect and honesty about the wine that we drink.
Just because we're having fun, doesn't mean that we should be mindless. When we are mindless, we do not learn. When we are mindful, we expand.
Mindfulness might sound a little solemn to some. It might seem like work. In our context, we look at mindfulness as being consciously creative and hungry for information.
Let me give you an example:
When I was a young warthog learning Spanish in high school, my teacher was trying to help us find ways to remember certain rules, words, verb conjugations, etc. She would tell us that any kind of association or connection that we could make, no matter how wacky or off-beat it was, that we should foster that connection, saying that it would help our memory. I just loved this. For example, let's say you were trying to remember the word "apple". The word for apple in Spanish is "manzana". Well, the first thing that comes to my head is that it sounds like the word for morning, which is "mañana". So, my natural connection would be, "I eat a manzana in the mañana." Simple, but effective.
Wine is a language unto itself. The countless regions and appellations, the endless encyclopedia of grape varietals, the winemaking jargon, the basic scientific elements of wine itself...it really is an enormous amount of information to chew on.
Since we're on the topic, let's take that example a step further and apply it to wine. You're studying Burgundian appellations. Well, let's say you're learning about the best sites for white wine. You'll come across Puligny-Montrachet, the commune home to some of the finest grand cru and premier cru sites for white Burgundy. Well, there's the Montrachet vineyard, a vineyard called Chevalier-Montrachet (I think of a Chevy truck), and then there's Bâtard-Montrachet, and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. There's other communes and vineyards with Montrachet in the title, but let's start here. How are you going to remember them all when you decide that's important to you?
Well, first of all, you've already got "Chevy" as your nickname for Chevalier-Montrachet. Next up are the Bastards. You see, Bâtard means Bastard. It's beautiful. How could you forget that? Now, you've got 3 bastards. Bâtard-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet (Welcome, bastard!), and even though I didn't mention it before, the neighbouring Grand Cru vineyard, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet, which despite the blasphemy of it, I remember as the "Crying Bastard". It's easier to pronounce.
Now hopefully, you're finding this amusing and educational at the same time. I've never heard a wine instructor call three Grand Cru sites "The Bastards" before, even though it's right in the name. Go figure.
You see, the key word here that connects mindfulness to knowledge retention is humour.
Now, I believe we were discussing our name. The Drunken Sommelier.
We've discussed the idea of accidental drunkenness in the past. It's a hazard of the journey. If you haven't gotten a little tipsy while falling in love with wine, then I don't think you've really fallen in love with it, have you?
Being a little tipsy can offer us so many moments of creativity, new ideas, unboundedness, freedom, and more. I am not an advocate for alcohol as a vehicle to obtain these things, but it's no secret that a couple of cocktails tends to release these qualities in the drinker from time to time. We've all danced on the proverbial table at some point.
And it's this image of unbounded, bizarre, and hilarious rambling that has the right aesthetic when we take our approach to learn about wine.
The sommelier is serious. Tight. Sober. Intimidating. Unapproachable. There's information, but it's in the vault.
But a drunken sommelier. Loose. Chatty. Approachable. There's information, but after a few glasses, the vault is open, and the good bottles are shared.
That's where we're coming from.
We can have fun without being reckless.
We can be irreverent without being immoral.
We can be smart without being stiff.
We can be loud without being obnoxious.
We can laugh when we get into trouble.
We can be wrong without being hurt.
We can be right without being proud.
We can be serious without being stern.
We can make jokes without being insincere.
We can have fun together, sharing something we love.
Because when we share something, there are more people there to remember the details, and more people to laugh with when you forgot what they were and need a reminder.
That's why we chose our name.