Inside the Sistine Chapel of Wine
A Letter from the Editor
Like many people, I came to fall in love with wine because I loved to travel first. As a writer and photographer, wine quickly became the lens through which I could see the land and its people. The alcohol and its relaxing, everything-is-jolly effect it had on me after a third glass? That became the least interesting part.
As a writer and photographer, wine quickly became the lens through which I could see the land and its people. The alcohol and its relaxing, everything-is-jolly effect it had on me after a third glass? That became the least interesting part.
What I also found — most acutely in Italy, where I traveled most at that time — was a camaraderie not limited by differing languages. Vignaioli were hard-working, nature-loving, gastronomically obsessed people who showed more hospitality than anyone I encountered in my previous professional life (in the hospitality business, no less). Through my 20s, exploring places through the lens and writing non-fiction occupied my heart. It was just that they never worked seamlessly together. They arm-wrestled for my attention. I wasn't mastering either discipline.
But in wine and through Opening a Bottle, I found a way to make them work together.
As wine swept me away, I began to notice something remarkable: an awareness of all of my senses. Before I fell in love with wine, I was a visual-dominant person, my eye always framing things through a rectangular lens while my other senses filled in the background. Wine unleashed a torrent of sensual awareness: my long-ignored sense of smell was beginning to memorize the aroma of a rainstorm on a dry day — because that was the signature of Nebbiolo from the Alps, of Syrah from the Northern Rhône, of Gamay Noir from certain cru in Beaujolais. My sense of taste was no longer mashing textures thoughtlessly so I could swallow; it was teasing out the details and triangulating why they should matter. And by reporting on wine, I became more attune to the music of language, both foreign and my own tongue. Trying to capture the spirit in which a winemaker spoke of their vines became just as important as jettisoning the superfluous words in my tasting notes. Through wine, I found a permanent challenge to my creative self, and an endless source of curiosity. This is a topic I'll never "master" — nor will you — because it has no end, no destination.
We need more things like that in life.
And so, as I relaunch Opening a Bottle with a commitment to new voices, new perspectives on wine through art, and through monthly virtual tastings where you and I can geek out all we like, I just want to say "thank you" for giving me an audience. For sharing your passion with me by lending your attention. That's a sacred thing, and I don't take it lightly.