Wine, Wine Thoughts

What Being an English Major Taught Me About Wine

Back before I was a true wine devotee, I was an eager and slightly naive university student studying theatre and English literature. While some people might think having a degree in English essentially amounts to a degree in bottled air, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in university and have become more and more grateful and proud of my degree as time passes.

Among other things, my degree taught me how to read pieces with a critical lens, to think of how context affects a work, and how to write coherently and effectively. As I’ve gained time and experience to fully digest all the learning I did in university I’ve started to realize that the things I learned are actually a great way to treat all things in life – wine included.

Let me explain what I mean.

That’s not to say these are simple, easy, or even obvious ways to look at the world. Instead they’re ways I’ve learned to engage with the world around me, and behaviours I’ve made routine as a way of creating a deeper connection to and understanding of whatever I’m taking a look at.

I wouldn’t say it’s entry-level stuff, or even necessary for everyone, but they are ways that made my love of both literature and wine grow exponentially.

Be specific

This one is pretty much borne out of straight up knowledge-gathering about wine. It’s pretty obvious – the more you’re interested in something the more likely you are to learn about it. The sheer volume of wine knowledge I’ve crammed into my brain over the last year and a half, when it didn’t make my head spin, made me love wine even more than I thought I could.

Use your words

Similar to being specific, finding the right words to describe what I’m seeing, smelling, and tasting can make me feel like some sort of super smart wine interpreter. As a writer I pride myself on being able to find just the right words to get my point across, which is probably why I get a big kick out of being able to describe a wine a way that makes someone immediately understand it. Cool party trick, non?

Think critically

I know, not everyone wants to really think when they’re enjoying a glass and, in all honesty, sometimes I don’t either. But! When I do, my enjoyment of the wine goes way up. Even when I’m drinking some cheapie on a Tuesday night, spending some time thinking about what’s in my glass, how I like it (or don’t!), what the label and price point tell me… call me a nerd, but it makes things more enjoyable.

Explore the story behind the story

This is, by far, the thing that has brought me the most enjoyment in my wine journey. Learning how and why Burgundy and Bordeaux became so unique and regimented; understanding what drives the Australian industry; figuring out how the soil, aspect, climate and weather affect what ends up in my glass – these are are endlessly fascinating to me, and things that have deepened my love and appreciation for wine and the people who make it.

Taylor Fladgate nose

Working ‘hard’ on a glass of port. Turns out I’ve always been a bit of a nerd for learning.

Can you enjoy, or even love, a glass of wine without these things? Sure. But they’ve deepened my love of this stuff, and they might do the same for you.


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