by Alexandria Johnson
26 FEBRUARY 2021 │ 2 min. read
My love for wine started when I was fairly young and it has grown with me.
It’s been an interest, a hobby, a passion, an occupation, a skill set, a challenge, and now something I recognize as part of my life.
There’s a lot that goes into sourcing a fine wine that really feels worth the hunt. It’s beyond grabbing something mass-produced and unloved in order to get a buzz. It’s the process of finding a story, tracing a memory, building trust with a merchant, or refining my ability to navigate with my own judgement.
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At home, I open the wine with a proper wine key, because I have had an electric wine opener and I don’t miss it. I like the purity of rudimentary things—things that I can do when there is no electricity available. Glassware is important to me; the varietal/region should match the glass.
Here are the standard steps of opening wine the way I learned, working in hospitality, but with
I cut the foil as clean as possible, remove the cork, pour a taste to make sure the wine hasn’t turned, swirl, sip, savor, and take it in with my eyes and palate. I make sure not to overpour.
I serve myself enough to keep white wine cool while I sip slowly; I pour just enough red to sip, swirl, and allow it to open up if it needs it; I pour just enough champagne to keep it cold and make sure I’m not wasting (I’m a notorious babysitter of drinks).
Then I enjoy. I have wine with music, with TV or a movie, while reading, with dinner.
It’s a ritual I appreciate as part of my love for food, rest and relaxation, and my love for myself. It’s research, exploration, and even a form of travel.
I always encourage those with curiosity and enthusiasm around wine to really feel free to explore and to inquire. It may be the love or it may be the alcohol, but for whatever reason wine lovers are typically very generous and willing to share and teach. Don’t be shy, raise a glass!🥂
Alexandria Johnson (she/her) is Chicago-based creative and social media strategist. She created the brand The Pushed Envelope to provide resources, channel creative energy, and encourage critical and independent thought.