My husband, Chad, is in the wine business. He started his own wine education and consulting company almost three years ago called (Un)Common Grape. He’s written blogs and interviewed people, made videos and podcasts, and poured wine for hundreds of people, telling them stories about wineries and grapes and projects from specific winemakers. We’ve traveled to wine regions and wineries, getting to know the people and the area through the grapes in our glasses. I’ve attended a few distributor wine tastings with him in the past, too. These distributors often have large portfolios, with hundreds, if not thousands of different wines from all over the world. So the tastings are long and intense with table after table after of wines.
I know a bit about wine, probably more than the average wine drinker, because Chad teaches me and I make an effort to learn so that we can talk about all the nuances. It’s important to him, so it’s become important to me. I ask him questions and guess at answers to see if I’m close. I always hope he sees my knowledge as his victory. I strive to be his greatest student as he strives to educate the world about making wine a part of life.
Chad knows so much about wine. He’s modest about it because there’s so much more to learn, but his knowledge is deep and varied. He’s a bit of nerd about wine too. At one tasting a couple years ago, he walked up to one table of Italian wines and the beautiful young woman who was poised behind the table pouring and talking about her wines immediately recognized him and came around to him a kiss on either cheek in true European style. This isn’t completely uncommon because Chad goes to a lot of tastings and meets a lot of sales representatives, winemakers, and winery managers. I asked later how he knew this particular woman and he said that he had met her at a tasting last year. I was surprised because it seemed like they knew each other so much better than having met once a year ago. And this is when my husband said, “Well we talked for like an hour last time. She had a map.”
And this is why I fell in love with Chad.
He was talking about a wine region map, which shows where different vineyards are located, often gives elevations or sun exposure, shows soil variations, and a variety of other terroir-related information. (If you don’t know what terroir is, (Un)Common Grape is a great place to start learning a little more about wine!) See, my husband is an information-lover, a map-lover, a nerdy-type. He didn’t spend an hour with this woman at that tasting last year because she was charming or beautiful or Italian, she had a map.
When Chad and I were first dating, we were in Paris together one night at the top of the Arc de Triomphe, working out math problems, trying to figure out if it’s possible to take photos of the 360-degree view of the Paris streets and create wallpaper from them for a rectangular room (we decided you really can’t because the angles would be warped around the square corners of the room. You really need a round room to keep the view from getting distorted). It was silly and romantic and completely pointless really, but we were having fun, working out the problems, challenging each other and solving the puzzle.
Now we solve our puzzles together on Saturday mornings in the form of crosswords over breakfast.
I always knew I would need to find a guy who wanted to talk about serious, intellectual things, a guy who wouldn’t think I’m crazy when I get excited about figuring out math problems for a sewing project or video editing project. I love learning and discussing and designing, and so does Chad. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why I love him.
On Monday, he’s starting a new job with a wine distributor, where he’ll deal in spreadsheets — another one of his favorite things. More than that, he’ll be learning new things and meeting new people, drinking delicious wines and traveling to new places (hopefully taking his most dedicated student along with him). And I’m so proud. I’m so proud that I get to be married to this man who is always learning and teaching me and sharing his life with me. I’m so excited for his new adventure. I’m so lucky he’s supported all of mine over the past year.
Good luck, my love. I’m so proud of you and happy for you and excited to see where life takes us next. Wherever it is, I’ll bet we’ll have a map and a glass of wine to guide our path.