Wine was not a common beverage for my family growing up. In college, I drank strawberry-flavored wine, and then I moved up to white Zinfandel. It wasn’t until my late twenties that my interest in wine started, and I set out to find my niche.
At the time, I worked in the accounting department at a five-star hotel in Beverly Hills. My manager gifted me dinner in the hotel restaurant, and I invited my mother and twin sister to join me for the affluent dining experience.
What I didn’t realize was that, as host, I was responsible for ordering the wine.
The wine itself was better than what I was used to, so I was excited and intrigued. My wine spirit was awakened.
Our sommelier approached the table, wordlessly handed me the wine menu and walked away. The list looked like a page from a foreign country travel log. I had no idea where to start, and my guests were in no position to offer assistance.
When the sommelier returned and asked if I had made a selection, I simply pointed at a name on the list that was moderately priced. I was relieved that I had at least managed to order something.
The somm returned again, this time with a white towel draped across his forearm. He showed me the bottle. I nodded, and he poured me about an ounce of wine. At this point, I was annoyed. I whispered to my mother asking why I wasn’t getting a full glass like an adult. Luckily, she knew what was going on and quietly told me that I was supposed to taste it and let him know if it’s OK.
I remember leaving dinner feeling disappointed and embarrassed. But the wine itself was better than what I was used to, so I was also excited and intrigued. My wine spirit was awakened. Today, I’m grateful for that mix of feelings.
From that night onward, I set out to learn as much as I could about wine and to share that knowledge with people in a comfortable approachable way. People would say to me, “You’re really good at helping people feel comfortable about wine, you should start a business.” Eventually, I did. I started an at-home tasting business. At last, I found my niche.
Published on August 1, 2020