The Pursuit of Balance Part I — Wine, Health and Prosperity

“I can resist anything in life, except temptation” Amen, Oscar.

I very recently turn 27 years old, hurrah! Whilst making it to 27 years old in 2015 is no longer much of an accomplishment, occasions such as birthdays and New Years tend to be significant enough to provoke reflection and internal analysis; How am I doing? Am I happy? What’s next? and so on. As I have gotten older (don’t laugh!) I’ve found that I’ve generally become happier and more content with my life which is quite brilliant, really. However, the recent move towards creating my own business around wine has not come without its obstacles and pitfalls, some of which will need to be navigated rather sharpish unless I want to reverse the trend. Working with wine is wonderful and so far the best move of my life, other than coming to Barcelona, but there are some quite simple issues which currently need to be addressed. These series of posts will aim to realistically and honestly show the next year, if I get that far, of this journey.

Firstly, education — not cheap and quite essential really, to my development within the wine business. There is a lot of reading and learning you can do yourself but ultimately formal education is the most well structured and complete way of improving your knowledge around the industry. The hidden cost of wine education is drinking the wine itself; living in Barcelona has many benefits, affordable international wines are not amongst them. Want to try a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon? Well upwards of 50 euros if you want a specific appelation. Italian wine? Choose between the 10 euro Sicilian Nero D’Avola or we have a bottle of Barolo from 1999 for 150 euros, what will it be? This is compounded by my second issue — my business is very young and as of yet, not making any money. Not wine specific, but relevant nonetheless. The third issue is my health — to put it simply, I’m pretty unhealthy and I imagine guzzling large amounts of wine on a regular basis isn’t helping. Will 27 be a year I remember for huge advances in my knowledge and understanding, a thriving business and a return to fitness? Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

Thou shall have only one God, and her name is Jancis! Seriously though, these books are essentially my bibles

Rule number one of studying wine — read a lot of good material; the best all-encompassing books I have found have all been written or co-written by Jancis Robinson MW. It’s a big world out there and the only way of figuring it out, is to study, drink, study, screw up, study some more. The above two are my main two study references and I spend hours each week working through them both, although I have a veritable library of more specific books. I have qualified to level 3 with the WSET and would dearly like to start my Diploma, it is merely a question of finances. I have written to the headquarters in London to apply for a bursary; time will tell if this yields any sort of discount on a 6,500 euro course over two years — not payable in installments as I live outside the UK. One small change I am making in my drinking habits is to stop buying bottles — from now on I am going to tour the city looking for bars serving international wines by the glass, mainly: Monvinic. This should be more cost-effective and allow me to try more wines from more countries.

I’m more likely to be recognised in the street before Google acknowledges I exist. ARE YOU LISTENING, GOOGLE?!

For a man who only accepted smart phones 6 months ago, building a website, blog and also being in charge of Search Engine Optimisation has been a bit of an eye-opener. Themes, copyrighting, metatags, authorisations of various descriptions; it’s easy to see why most sensible people simply farm this stuff out. Unfortunately, running on a budget means I have prioritised otherwise and I believe I am slowly starting to prevail. Except for Google indexing — those guys suck. The aim of the business is to organise high quality, local wine tastings to promote Spanish and Catalan wines to international consumers; enotourism, basically. Unfortunately that’s all for nothing if the number 1 search engine in the world refuses to admit I exist. However, I believe I have jumped through just enough hoops for one of their crawl-bots to take enough of an interest to mark my website as part of their territory. Time will tell but I am hopeful I will wake up one day to the sharp smell of crawl-bot piss.

Bloated cheeks, adult acne and nose-bleeds. The very picture of vitality and youth!

The final, and most personal, of my issues is my health. As you can see from the picture above, there may be one or two things to address here. (Nice eyes though, eh?) Now, I’ve been overweight for a while but I firmly believe that wine has a place in a balanced and well structured diet — the truth is, I simply drink too much of the stuff on a regular basis. Drinking too much of “the stuff” tends to lead to unhealthy food choices, unusual sleeping patterns and lethargy. There is really no need for me to drink that much, simply to taste, and therefore I am aiming to move away from consumption and more into tasting and spitting with one or two higher quality bottles a week to be drank with family and friends. Add a daily exercise regime, a more structured diet… what could possibly go wrong?

Bon Voyage!

Wine Cuentista: The literal translation is ‘Wine story-teller’. We run high quality wine tastings in central Barcelona, Borne area, with the intention of tasting and learning about high quality Spanish and Catalan wines in a relaxed atmosphere — perfect for a fun evening out in Barcelona! If you would like to get in touch or see our services, check out the website here: winecuentista.com Thanks!