whining and dining.

While my husband’s career centers around wine, I know next to nothing about this magic grape juice. For years I’ve attended tastings with him, visited vineyards and consumed more than a fair share of vino. But I guess that because he knows so much about wine, I decided not to let one iota of information sink into my own head. It’s one of few areas where the control freak in me lets him completely take the wheel.

Today, he invited me to help him out at a wine tasting. When I agreed to attend, I somehow glazed over the fact that I don’t know a Chardonnay from a Shar-Pei…or a Malbec from a malady…or a Syrah from a sarong…or…

It ended up being a great day, and a perfect occasion for me to completely and utterly fail at something.

I never suspected the retirees of Carefree would have so many pressing questions about the origins of different varietals, and the differences between how wines are aged. Any time Jim wandered more than a foot from me, I was forced to either make up answers or awkwardly change the subject, while receiving perplexed stares from gray-haired strangers.

At one point, I was asked where a wine was from, and I felt a wave of relief wash over me. Finally – a question I can answer. I looked at the label of the bottle and confidently declared, “Napa! It’s from Napa.”

And then Jim gently pointed out that while the distributor is indeed based in Napa, the wine was from Argentina. Said so right there on the label. Open mouth, insert foot.

But despite awkwardly floundering, I had a great time. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes that states that life begins outside your comfort zone.

I’m a firm believer in pushing yourself and taking on some uncomfortable moments in the spirit of learning, and while today was a mild example, it was still a good reminder of how learning happens. And how thinking on your feet and doing new things keeps you feeling alive, even if it feels silly and makes you want to cry a little.

I can think of so many moments throughout different stages of life where I resisted doing anything uncomfortable. I chose the passive route and shied away from anything that could put me at a risk or had an undefined outcome. And that’s just me – I think my first inclination is always to to take the safer route – but I’m also discovering that sometimes usually, the most uncomfortable, painful and challenging experiences are what we credit with having the greatest value.

So the moral of the story? That my husband was clever in making me think I was actually needed at this event, when in reality, it was just a fun way for us to spend time together. And while I crashed and burned at Wine 101, I found some great ways to contribute to the day. Mostly by telling bad jokes, which encouraged patrons to bolster the tip jar.

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i like jim’s job

…Because sometimes when I get home from work I’m told to “get dressed up because we’re going wine tasting.” There’s nothing wrong with an evening of fine wines at a fancy resort, no ma’am. I think it complements my jet lag quite nicely.
Despite attending lots of these shindigs, it still feels completely awkward to use phrases like jammy, full-bodied and robust tannins. It’s like trying out a foreign language – you’re always on the precipice of saying something completely inappropriate.

Cheers to hoping  I didn’t do anything too embarrassing…

Jerome Wineries

“Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. Four disastrous fires destroyed large sections of the town during its early history, resulting in the incorporation of the City of Jerome in 1899.