My Winestory – #MWWC29

I can’t say exactly when I had my first taste of wine. As a child, Sunday dinner was a formal affair. We’d come home from church and change out of our “Sunday” clothes, only to dress again that evening for dinner. I clearly remember pot roast. Lots of pot roast. I also remember wine. My parents always served my sister and me a small glass of wine with Sunday dinner. I’m sure it was no more than an ounce or two. I assume that started around age 11 or 12. Mind you, this was wine from a jug, from one of the fine estates of E&J Gallo, Almaden, or Carlo Rossi, but wine it was.

Skip ahead a few years to junior high. In health class we studied a unit on alcohol, including a section on alcohol abuse and alcoholism. In one lesson, we took a quiz and to my shock, my parents’ drinking habits ticked almost all the boxes that indicate possible problems. Around this same time, I have vivid memories of my dad, passed out in his recliner after dinner. His normal habit after coming home from work was to toss back a couple of gin & tonics, then have a few glasses of wine with dinner. After dinner he’d retire to his recliner to watch TV, and within minutes, he was sawing logs. My sister and I laughed at it this first, but as I got older, it stopped being funny. One night, I tried to wake him up so he would go to bed, but I couldn’t, so I turned off the lights and went to my own bedroom to read.

I don’t know if my parents met the clinical definition of alcoholic, but with that kind of upbringing and exposure to excessive alcohol consumption, by high school, I had pretty much decided I was never going to let that happen to me. Whether alcohol abuse is an inherited genetic trait, or learned behavior (nature vs. nurture) I do not know. However, I do believe that children of alcoholics are much more likely to become alcoholics themselves. My sister is an example of this. She is a recovering alcoholic who, with the support of her AA friends and family, recently celebrated 18 years of sobriety!

So how, then, did I end up here? Not only drinking wine (and beer and liquor), but blogging about it? Glad you asked.

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge

John Taylor, author of Pairs With: Life, won #MWWC28, and his Major Award was to select the topic for #MWWC29. He chose: Winestory. An opportunity for us to share our personal stories about how we got here, and why in the world we decided to start writing a blog. Having sufficiently (I hope) set the stage, here is my

winestory

Like any other kid in living in a college dorm, despite my convictions, I occasionally succumbed to peer pressure. That’s when I first learned about the joys of the sweet elixir. I’m referring, of course, to White Zinfandel. In the early 80’s, this fine juice was in its heyday, and priced right for starving college students! It was everywhere! Kool-aid with a kick, and all the cool kids were drinking it. But I still wasn’t hooked.

In our early married years, my wife and I were pretty much teetotalers. st-innocentWe might have a glass of wine when we went out for a special occasion dinner, and would buy a bottle for home maybe twice a year. However, one fateful December when we were living in Oregon, we attended a company holiday party at St. Innocent Winery. At first I demurred when the hostess offered me a glass. Sure, I knew Pinot Noir is what put the Willamette Valley on the wine map, but I truly subscribed to the (untested and erroneous) belief that red wine gives me headaches. The hostess assured me that St. Innocent’s wine would not give me a headache. She was right, and the wine was delicious. The rest, as they say, is history.

I started buying wine regularly, and joined a wine club, receiving quarterly shipments of wines from all over the world. My journey of discovery and adventure had begun! Soon, friends and family were asking me for advice: wines to buy, pairing suggestions, anything wine related. I was hungry for knowledge about wine. I subscribed to magazines, and enrolled in web-based classes. Then one day, I received a voucher in the mail. My wine journey was about to change, and go in an entirely new direction.

If you have read my blog before, you probably know that I am a member, and ardent supporter of NakedWines.com. (If you are unfamiliar with NakedWines.com, please follow this link to their FAQ page.) When that voucher arrived, I was skeptical. I had been disappointed by many of the wine clubs I’d tried, but I figured $160 worth of wine for $60 was worth the one-time risk. Once the wine arrived and I had my first taste from the first bottle I opened, I was hooked.

not-the-original-bottle-it-was-so-good-i-bought-more

Not the actual First Bottle. It was so good, I bought more.

One of the things that sets NakedWines.com apart from traditional wine clubs is the social media aspect of the company. Members, known as Angels, are encouraged to post reviews of the wines they drink, and interact with each other…and the winemakers…on the website. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed writing the reviews of the wines. Even more surprising was the fact that other Angels were reading them, and commenting on how much they liked them. New Angels were starting to seek out my reviews and opinions. They were looking up to ME! I’m no sommelier, no winemaker, or any other sort of expert. I’m just a guy who drinks wine, with a new passion for writing about it.

The natural next step, then, was to figure out this whole blog thing, and start writing. So I did. My main focus is on sharing those wine reviews, expanding them beyond NakedWines.com, to include all the wines I enjoy. More than just reviews, though, I like to tell a story about the wine, the region, and if possible, the winemaker. My goal is to engage my audience, and if I may be so bold, perhaps educate them a little. Keeping my childhood in mind, and cognizant of my family history, and remain vigilant on my consumption. Nevertheless, wine has become my true passion, and sharing it brings me joy.

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12 thoughts on “My Winestory – #MWWC29

  1. John Taylor December 5, 2016 at 12:11 pm Reply

    Terrific story! Thanks for the brutal honesty up front. I know that’s never easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Appetite for Wine December 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm Reply

      Thanks, John! My hope in sharing is that others with similar histories can take heart and know they are not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. the drunken cyclist December 5, 2016 at 3:26 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on mwwcblog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Appetite for Wine: My Winestory […]

    Like

  4. One Foot in the Grapes December 7, 2016 at 2:57 am Reply

    I loved this story. I’m so glad you’ve found a way to embrace wine despite everything. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Appetite for Wine December 7, 2016 at 7:24 am Reply

      Thank you, Jane Clare. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I really appreciate the support!

      Like

  5. Brianne Cohen December 7, 2016 at 9:26 am Reply

    A great entry! Thanks for sharing your story. Oh, I too LOVE St Innocent:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Appetite for Wine December 7, 2016 at 10:55 am Reply

      Thank you, Brianne! Yes, St. Innocent is pretty amazing stuff! It is, to me, what PN should taste like!

      Like

  6. clcoronios January 7, 2017 at 3:00 pm Reply

    These MWWC blogs are very interesting. Thanks for the lead to them through yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Appetite for Wine January 7, 2017 at 3:14 pm Reply

      My pleasure, Carol Lynn! It is fun to write them. I like that they stretch me and my writing! Cheers!

      Like

  7. Michael Romano for Romano Brands January 18, 2017 at 8:25 am Reply

    Great blog post! Enjoyable to read! You mentioned white Zin in college which enabled me to recall my college day of loving Mateus and Lancer’s Rose’ wines. I too grew up with wine – especially on Sundays with our family meal. My father always had half-gallon jugs of G&D Burgundy Scelto. As a child, I was permitted to enjoy the wine and I did so with a little ice. But today, I am employed in the wine business and have been since 1975. Still, dry, elegant Rose’ remains a focus for me, especially with my own brand that I produce in Provence, France. The largest segment of wine-sales growth today is in dry Rose’. Dry Rose’ is offering an opportunity for wine drinkers to expand their horizons into wine appreciation at incredible leaps and bounds. If you have interest in a quality Rose’ and the history of it’s origins please stay tuned at http://www.MaisonBelleClaire.com. Wishing you all the best, Michael Romano

    Liked by 1 person

    • Appetite for Wine January 18, 2017 at 8:35 am Reply

      Thank you, Michael! I really appreciate your comments. I do enjoy a nice, dry Rose’, and not just in the summer! I’ll keep an eye on your site. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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