So this blog is called “Wine & Soul” but I rarely spend much time pondering the “soul” elements. Make no mistake though; they are very important inspirations for this blog. For me the “soul” part conjures up the spirit that is in the wines themselves, our relationship to nature and our relationship to ourselves. Can we live with mindfulness and in wisdom? Can we bring that way of being to our relationship with what’s in the glass — and our relationships with those that make sure the wine gets to the glass.
I would like to start with one simple thing: mindfulness in wine tasting. Those of us who love to drink wine whether or not we call ourselves “geeks” are often at a bar where someone somewhere is pouring something. The wine tasting experience can be solemn or it can be jovial but what it is often not, is mindful.
Slow down. Be present. Be aware of what’s around you as well as what’s in the glass. Take the time to honor those who made this possible from the workers who picked the grapes to the winemaker who crafted it and to everyone else. If you are tasting at your local wine shop, that can be a long chain of people.
We all have been schooled in the 5 steps in tasting wine: sight, swirl, sniff, sip, and spit but we rarely take the time to really do all that. We just drink it.
Slow down. Try a new way – a mindful way of tasting. Admittedly it adds a few steps to the traditional process but I promise it will be well worth the extra steps – and enjoyable too!
The Wine & Soul 12 Step Program of Mindfulness in Wine Tasting
- Breathe – deep and slowly for 30 seconds.
- Sight – look at what’s right in front of you, try different angles, hold it up in the light.
- Swirl – roll the wine in the glass and watch the colors explode and aromas emerge.
- Sniff – get your nose in that glass and give it a good one or two or three – so much of “taste” has to do with “smell.”
- Sip – give it a small taste not a big gulp, please.
- Swoosh- suck on it a bit, aerate and zoom around the mouth. (Ignore the stares of others – you are in your zone.)
- Spit – ‘nuff said.
- Pause. Let the flavors mingle and linger.
- Reflect. What did you experience? Take notes.
- Be in gratitude.
And then start all over again with the next wine always in the hope finding a complex, harmonious, complete, and balanced gem while enjoying the process of getting there!
It becomes a meditation, one that fills your heart with joy. It helps you find a place of tranquility and contemplation – a.k.a., find your zone – in the busiest of wine shops or urban wineries in industrial places. At least that has been my experience and so I am sticking to my story.
And would love to hear yours!