One fundamental lesson that constantly reminds me of my priorities on a day-to-day basis is the importance of relationships. Just like the importance of saying thank you or the importance of not always saying what is on your mind, the importance of maintaining relationships at every level will help you progress in education, career and in life.
Wine is truly about relationships. I keep learning this over and over and over again.
On Saturday evening, I was reminded once again of what it means to make a connection.
As many of you know who read this blog, I basically write about my journey of becoming a Master Sommelier. It is a goal I plan obtaining in my lifetime, provided I don’t die tomorrow.
Anyway, a key person in the Court of Master Sommeliers is a beautiful woman named Blakesley. She is the Executive Director of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation.
For the past five years we have gotten to know one another, albeit electronically. Most of our correspondence has been via email as she lives in Napa and I live in Tarboro.
A couple of years ago, when my email account was hacked, Blakesley called me to make sure I was o.k. Keep in mind, at this point, we had never met in person.
However, just a couple of months ago, I was given the opportunity of meeting Blakesley face-to-face in Napa where I attended Rudd Round Table.
At the end of the whirlwind prep course, the attendees enjoyed dinner at Tra Vigne with a few other selected guests. One of these guests was Cyril Chappellet, Blakesley’s husband and owner of Chappellet Winery. I was given the honor of sitting beside Cyril and learning more about the history of his winery and how he and Blakesley met and fell in love. It was a wonderful evening, and not far away from the many enjoyable evenings I have had with good people in Tarboro. That’s the irony of the story. Although I was thousands of miles away from home, I was made to feel at home by people who understand the value of relationships.
This past Friday, Blakesley emailed me to say Cyril would be in the Chapel Hill area for a wine dinner. She asked was On the Square far away. I fudged a little and told her we were one hour due east of Raleigh, and it was a great drive.
It made me think back to the many people I have met over the past 12 years along my incredible wine journey. Susan LaRossa, Mark Coleman, Glenn Vogt and Paolo Villela at Windows on the World; Laura Maniec and Kerrin Ott at Blue Fin; Jeremy & Diana Seysses while working the harvest at Dujac; David Gordon and the entire Borgata team; the list goes on and on and on. And now, many years after making my debut into the world of wine, I am still making friends with people who not only love the juice but also love people.
It is a special job, this wine gig that I have. And not a moment goes by where I don’t thank God for letting it be my career. You see, I get to sip wine made by people I love and with people I love. That is a pretty awesome gift that keeps on giving.
Cheers to all special relationships, wine-related or not.