I’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 couple of wine credentials. But I’ve also had a wine epiphany:
I don’t want to be a sommelier.
Yep, you read that right.
Let me explain. Pull up a chair, and I’ll pour you a glass of wine (probably Champagne) and tell you a little about myself.
My life, in bullet points:
- I’m a wife, and a mom to two teenagers.
- I’ve lived in Virginia most of my life, but I’m originally from Nebraska. Go Big Red!!
- In a previous life, I was a high school history teacher (because what else can you do with a degree in political science?).
- Along with wine, I love history and photography. I especially love it when they all get tangled up together.
- I have a crush on Ernest Hemingway.
- Birds are swell, too.
- I think Tuesday is a good reason to open a bottle of Champagne.
My wine credentials:
- WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Diploma Candidate
- WSET Advanced
- CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine, Society of Wine Educators)
How did I get here (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?
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).
In the last year, I’ve passed both my CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) exam and my WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Advanced exam. I got fancy pins and everything!
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.]
I’m in the throes of WSET Level 4 (Diploma Award) right now. It’ll take me 2-3 years to finish the credential, but once I do, I plan to return to teaching as a WSET Certified Instructor (cue Circle of Life music).
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!
Thanks for stopping by, and please don’t be a stranger. You can also contact me directly: oenophile27 AT gmail.com.