At the end of a long day, there is nothing more satisfying than hearing the pop of a cork followed by the sloshing of wine into a glass. The first sip is refreshing and seemingly melts the day away.
As a young independent woman in her mid 20’s, these small moments of satisfaction came as a breath of fresh air for me while I was struggling to balance unemployment, relationships, family and stalled lifelong dreams.
Growing up and through college, I always had a plan. I set goals I was committed to accomplishing and achieved them. Upon graduation, I was confident in who I was, and with my education and resume I was ready to embark on becoming the business woman I intended to be. I thought I would have no problem succeeding once again, but life is full of twists and turns.
When I moved to San Francisco only to find myself jumping from one low paying job to another while dealing with student loans and credit card debt, stress quickly became my mode of operation. After multiple apartments and a stint at my parents’ house, I knew I was not where I wanted to be. The plans I had so meticulously laid out weren’t taking shape. A planner by nature, I seemed to plan myself right out of happiness and patience.
That was until I realized the one constant in my life was wine. I don’t mean that in the alcoholic “I have a flask in my pocket” kind of way – I mean wine was my passion. Time and again, I saw how wine brought people together. I started to learn more, participated in a wine club, and worked in the industry. As I gained more experience, I was starting to feel renewed.
One evening in particular, a friend reached into her cellar and retrieved a 1964 Pinot Noir from Burgundy. I couldn’t stop smiling, I was so happy! I remember smelling the wine and literally feeling transported to the vineyards in France. It was as if by smell alone, the history of the wine flashed before my eyes; like I could see where the wine had been made and its progression through time.
This sense of place gave new meaning to terroir. If this wine could talk, it would tell stories of its travels. A wine that was 20 years older than me made me feel like I was sitting and talking with someone who had experienced so much, it had such maturity. I decided right in that moment that I wanted to live my life like this wine. I wanted to have a strong sense of where I came from while still being independent and finding my own path, and to be ripe, mature and interesting as a result of my life experiences.
I began to realize that all of the challenges I faced had grounded me and were guiding me to establish the kind of adult I wanted to be. As tough as it was to see the lessons in the moment, I was establishing a community and creating a life for myself even if it didn’t feel very stable. As I gained more and more experience I knew my next step had to be owning a business and becoming the business woman I had always wanted to be. That’s when The Wine Key , a wine education and consulting service where I focus on bringing individuals together to learn about wine at events and classes around the country, was born.
Wine often creates emotional experiences, inspires dreams, and creates stories. No matter where I go or what I plan, I will always have a strong sense of where I come from and will embrace life’s ebbs and flows. And when things get tough, I will think of that 1964 Burgundy and be reminded that I am only adding stories to my adventure. And then I will pour myself another glass of wine.