What Wine Taught Me

The other day I went to my usual lunch place, The Abbey in Seal Beach.  I love the feeling that they know you when you walk in; it’s sort of my Cheers bar.  Sitting at the counter eating my lettuce tacos, a conversation began about Pinot Noir.  Brad, a Seal Beach local, was a cornucopia of information regarding Pinot Noir grapes.


I think the only thing I actually knew about those grapes is whatever was said in the movie Sideways (which I absolutely love!). Note to self: watch it again….Well here is what I learned during my quick lunch break:


Pinot Noir grapes are moody.  They are temperamental. They are not a high yielding grape. But here was the most interesting part, if the soil is made too fertile, too comfortable for the Pinot grapes, they will yield more grapes, but the grapes will not be that robust, creating a less stellar wine.  The more challenging and stressful the soil condition is, the more robust, strong, and flavorful the grapes will be. And hillsides create a stressful environment for the Pinot grapes, thus yielding some bold Pinot. So in essence, the tougher the conditions, the more tough, resilient, and bold the grapes will be.


So that got me to thinking. If we have a rather easy, unchallenging, and non-stressful life, we don’t have the need or the reason to toughen up, to become resilient, to become bold.  But—if we have faced difficult challenges, been through some tough times, encountered trying times, like the Pinot noir grapes, we become stronger, more robust, and more well-rounded. With each challenge, we are emboldened as we get closer to being stellar.


So what have you gone through that felt painful, scary, life-altering, and challenging? What did your rough patch look like? I can tell you that I certainly went through about a 10 year rough patch after my painful divorce.  It was an unsteady time when I was trying desperately to regain my footing. But now, thinking about those Pinot Noir grapes, my hardship may have just made me the very best version of myself.  Without that difficult journey, would I be so resilient today? Without the heartache, would I have developed my inner self so profoundly? Without the struggle, would I have evolved so completely?   I know wholeheartedly that enduring it enhanced me.


So next time you sit down to enjoy a glass of wine. Try a sip of Pinot Noir and relish the hardship or challenge that beautifully altered you.