At the Corner of Wine and Writing (#MWWC29: My Winestory)

redness-1I’m the Armchair Sommelier.  I assigned myself that moniker four years ago, when I first started blogging.  I wanted to be a sommelier, but I lacked any kind of real wine credential.  Here it is, four years later, and I’ve earned a first (and, knock on wood, a second) wine credential.  But I’ve also had a wine epiphany:

I don’t want to be a sommelier.

Yep, you read that right.

Let me explain . . .

This is my entry in the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC29).  The theme this month is Winestory.  It was chosen by last month’s winner, John of Pairs With: Life.  We’re supposed to answer Yoda’s question to Luke Skywalker: “I am wondering … why are you here?”  You know, at the corner of Wine and Writing.

I fell in love with wine over a quarter-century ago (wait, that makes me sound really old, let’s just go with over 2o years ago), and I have never fallen out of love.  Every bottle of wine (even the pink one that tastes like Capri-Sun) is an opportunity to learn something.  But wine is only part of the learning.  Along the way, wine gets tangled up with history, geography, culture, literature, language, art, chemistry (I don’t tangle with chemistry very often – chemistry scares me), geology, photography.  The tangle and the learning are endless.

I wanted to learn more about wine (and the collateral tangle that goes along with it), but I never found the right combination of motivation and commitment to pursue a wine credential.  So, I started my blog as a means to continue my own wine education.  If I write it, I’ll retain it (or something along those lines).  I was a teacher in a former life (high school history).  I can teach myself about wine, right?

Sort of.

I did a lot of reading and sort-of-studying.  But, to borrow a handful of words from Albert Einstein, the more I learned, the more I realized how much I didn’t know.

If I was going to move beyond the armchair, I needed organization, deadlines, and a looming exam.  And hell, nothing motivates quite like putting some real skin (aka $$$) in the game (something else I’ve learned — wine credentials aren’t cheap).

Last spring, I passed my CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) exam.  I got a fancy pin and everything.  And last week, I sat for my WSET3 (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Advanced exam.  Results won’t be back until February, (and I’m loathe to be over-confident), but I feel like I did well enough to pass.  And get another fancy pin.

But I still don’t want to be a sommelier.

Sommeliers work nights and weekends.  I’m not a night person, and I’d never see my family.  And sommeliers are on their feet all the time.  For someone who’s had three back surgeries (long story), this is a deal-breaker.  And then there’s the heavy-lifting (wine is heavy — a case of wine weighs roughly 40 pounds, which is 30 pounds over my limit).  My back and I would be done after one night.

But I love wine.  And learning about wine.  [Insert another epiphany.]

Provided I passed my WSET3 Exam, I plan to go on to WSET Level 4 (Diploma Award) and return to teaching as a WSET Certified Instructor (cue Circle of Life music).  It’ll take me 2-3 years, but that’s my plan.

All of that will coincide nicely with my daughter going off to college and my nest becoming decidedly (gulp) empty.  Adult education will be new to me, but at least I won’t have to chaperone the prom.

And the best part . . . I’ll still be the Armchair Sommelier!



  1. I am also a wine (and food) lover. You are so right the more you learn about wine, the more you realize there is so much more to learn.
    I enjoy following your blog. Cheers!


  2. A great story – good luck on the WSET – I hope to start the diploma in January – as my long career in one area comes to an end I see the next step future exactly as you do – I love wine, I love learning about it, and I want to share the love with others.


      1. Yep…just one! But it’s the big boy Unit 3. It’s about 4x the size of the other exams. In regards to timeframe, at least with our APP, I believe 3 yrs is the max. The curriculum takes about 2 years to get through. They pad another year in case you need that last year to resit any exams. I am not sure how it works if you need longer. In any case….good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Definitely a monster! The APP determines the order of the curriculum. You do not determine the order of your exams. Though I’ve talked to others and the preferred order is to get all the small exams (Unit: 2, 4, 5, and 6) done first, in addition to the writing elements of Unit 1. Then tackle Unit 3 last. This give you exam experience with the smaller units that will hypothetically prepare you more for the big Unit 3.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s