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The world is in your wineglass - by Tim Atkin

Years ago, I had a conversation with the Australian wine guru, Brian Croser. I was experiencing a period of disillusionment with the wine industry, concerned that it was a small world focused on its own navel. I asked Brian if he ever got bored of wine. His answer was interesting. Wine, he told me, was one of the most fascinating subjects of all. And he was right. Wine is not just smell and taste; it’s also politics, economics, history, sociology, agriculture and, of course, people. 

Earlier this week I interviewed the great Californian winemaker Zelma Long for a forthcoming podcast and she said something that reminded me of that long-ago chat with Brian. How do you get away from your day job? I asked her. Her response? She doesn’t. “Wine is an opportunity to do other things,” she told me. When she goes to a wine region, she uses it as a bridge to art, to culture, to landscape, to food, to local communities.

Those of us who work in wine for a living don’t always appreciate how fortunate we are. Most of us won’t get rich, but we get to travel to nice places, drink good bottles and, more often than not, eat nice food. To paraphrase the poet Walt Whitman – if we choose to dig a little deeper, we can all agree that wine “contains multitudes”. 

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