With no apologies to all you influencers out there, here's the side of wine that doesn't get enough love, the side that the new enthusiast needs to brand on their own forehead before posting a picture of themselves on a rooftop deck with a bottle of rosé:
The back of house.
I worked as a front of house person in wine. Sales. Restaurants. I had to dress up a little. I polished glassware, wore suits, had the swishy hair, all that. I think a lot of people think about wine this way. They think about tank tops that say, “Rosé All Day.” They think about yachts and restaurants and giant estate wineries and sommeliers and what not.
Sure. This is part of it. But it starts in the vineyard. And it’s not so glamorous. It’s dirty. It’s early mornings. It's nights. It’s physical. It’s tedious. The weather is nice. The weather sucks. It’s stressful. Harvests can get wiped out by golf-ball sized hail. It can piss rain. Critters can come in to the vineyard and ruin your work. It’s being covered in sticky juice and dirt and shit. Lifting equipment.
Harvesting itself. You might make it through your first beer, but you'll pass out with the second beer half full in your hand.
It’s not summer dresses, patios, tailored suits, pins, giant tasting rooms, and wine clubs and case deals that make wine amazing. Sure, they can be fun. But I want to make sure you understand the workmanlike labour and effort that goes into making the thing itself. We need to appreciate the people who power wash the floor in the winery after crush, the people who clean barrels and tanks.
Good viticulture and winemaking teams work harder than anyone at a good winery. Make sure you take a lot of time to consider them and their teams in this whole journey. If it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be drinking.