At a wine tasting event last month, someone asked me how it was that I came to love wine. It all started 23 years ago in the countryside outside the city limits of Geneva, Switzerland. The middle of nowhere, to be exact. With a man I had only met two hours earlier.
But it’s not what you think. This is not that kind of blog, and I was not that kind of chica.
I was a 22 year-old Latina in her last year at the University of California, away from home for the first time on a summer work-abroad program. That was the summer I came into my own, and to get back to the story, the summer I discovered the joy of wine (and improved my French).
The man in question was a thirty-something banker who had taken a liking to my American roommate. He had asked her to dinner at a small country restaurant, and she was nervous about going alone with a man she barely knew. So I took one for the team and accepted her invitation to join them.
What I remember most about that afternoon was not so much the conversation or even the food, but the glorious red wine. I couldn’t tell you the varietal. At the time the only things I was jotting down in notebooks were French words I’d never heard in my literature classes (bretelles for bra straps, Coupe Danemark for a lethal serving of velvety ice cream with hazelnuts and heavy chocolate syrup, served in a cup the size of a fish bowl).
Maybe it was the bucolic country setting. Maybe it was the thrill of being with a European man who could school my American boyfriend back home on wardrobe and manners. Regardless, I was hopelessly, unapologetically, deliciously hooked on wine.
Which brings me to today. Before I head into the kitchen to pour a glass of Australian Shiraz, I want to share a few things you can expect to see on this blog. Let me stress that while I may be targeting my fellow wine-loving Latinas, this content is for everyone and anyone who loves wine, wants to learn more about wine, or wants to share their knowledge or expertise about wine. I’ll be writing about wines I think you might enjoy, tastings and events that I visit, profiles and interviews with people in the wine industry, factoids about what I’m learning in the UCLA Extension wine education program, and maybe a few foods I enjoy with various wines.
So cheers, salud, and santé, chicas y chicos! And a special toast to the fine Swiss gent who started it all.