I took a DNA test… turns out I’m 100% a Type A Personality that makes New Year’s Resolutions. Last year, I kept things simple. My only goal was to begin transitioning. You know… just changing expressed gender from Male to Female. Simple.
This year, I made my resolutions more by gut feel than anything else.
Ronnie would say that she isn’t bilingual, just like I would say I don’t speak Chinese. We say it because we’re not proficient in our second languages. However, Ronnie is bilingual. So are all her friends. And her son. I don’t like missing out on jokes and I love the subtlety and nuance of language, so I decided that this is the year mi Español gets mucho mejor. I downloaded Duolingo and started the Español refresher classes. My favorite sentence I’ve studied so far is “Tu camiseta es elegante,” which translates as “your tshirt is elegant.”
One of my bosses is Columbian, so I try to only speak Spanglish when I talk to him. He does a good job of gauging where I am in my understanding and speaking to me one level higher than I am. He’s always pushed me to be a better person.
Late last year, I began to miss reading. I missed the way that a book would grab me, wrestle my imagination down, and drag me into its narrative. Ronnie wanted to read more, too, so we went down to the neighborhood Plano library branch and got library cards. I’m currently on my fourth downloaded book this year. The Semiosis series completely grabbed me. I finished both books in 48 hours.
I was always jealous of my friend, Jenee, and her fiancé, Ciera and how they would sit together and read. I wanted that with my partner and I have it with Ronnie. Two nights ago we were both laying on the sofa, reading, and would occasionally caress one another. It was heavenly. Best. Resolution. Ever.
Lastly, my company announced they were giving out scholarships for people in my region/department to get WSET Level 2 certification. It’s like being a Sommelier but with a retail focus instead of a restaurant focus. I had to write an essay as part of my application. Here it is:
I fell in love with wine when my friend that worked for Southern Glazers poured two glasses for me. The first glass was a Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma Country, California. My friend explained that normal tasting notes for that region were pear and lemon. It was a good glass but I didn’t really think much of it. He then poured me a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough County, New Zealand. As I took the first sip of that wine I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how alive the glass was with flavor! My friend explained to me that the two glasses held wines made from the exact same grapes. The difference was where they were grown. Before that afternoon, I thought wine was for pretentious jerks. After that afternoon, I realized that I knew nothing… but I wanted to know more.
A few years later I went to work for Glazer’s (pre-merger with Southern) in their Paramount Wine Division. Part of my training was Glazer’s Beverage University in which I learned about dosage in champagne, why red wines are red, and other basic knowledge about the wine industry. I also got to meet winemakers who gave me firsthand knowledge about the deep science and art that went into crafting a great bottle of wine. My route was a mixed On-Premise and Off-Premise route, which enabled me to turn around and train restaurant staff on what I had learned as well as other basics like why white wine was paired with seafood and red wine with beef.
Even though I left Wine Sales, I never left my love of wine. I’ve traveled to Santa Barbara County, Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, and Sancerre. Each region wowed me with their wines, their histories, and their approaches. I always enjoyed explaining to friends what it was they loved about their favorite types of wine as well as suggesting new varietals or regions for them to try.
When I joined the Specialty team with WFM, I started as a bartender at the Uptown Dallas store, which gave me the chance to interact with people who were curious about wine again. It had been a decade since I had been in that type of role and I relished the opportunities to talk about wine that being a bartender gave me. A promotion to Team Trainer found me as the go-to person on the team when guests needed help while the Specialist was off of the clock. It was so much fun walking with them through the wine set and helping them discover Pinot Gris and Gruner Veltliner when they were tired of Pinot Grigio or introducing them to a Bordeaux Blend when they wanted to try something besides the same California Cab that they always drank.
A promotion last year to Wine Specialist at the Highland Park store really helped me hone my basic knowledge as Vendors and Suppliers kept bringing me wines to taste. The fruity punch in the face that a Paso Robles Cab gives you surprised me when I began to notice it in every bottle from the region. The aromas of Cedar on some of the Italian Reds made me pull back in wonder from the glass and dive in again for another deep whiff. The distinctness of a Viognier helped me identify what it was about most White Blends that gives them such a rich mouthfeel and kiss of sweetness. I then was able to introduce my guests to these wines and my new knowledge when I would do demos or help them select a wine for dinner or a party.
Wine Specialist was a really enjoyable role for me. The reason I moved into an ATL role was because I wanted to learn more. I have a great knowledge of coffee from my time as a barista, having used beans from over 20 roasters in my work. My team at the Plano store has both a Cicerone and a CCP. They are great sources of knowledge for me as I spend more time around wheels of Cheese and expand on what I learned as a homebrewer. That leaves Wine. I have a subscription to Wine Spectator and I take notes on the wines we sell that get accolades. I also listen to wine podcasts like Wine for Sophisticated Homies, which explain wine in funny ways.
I still want to learn more. My heart leapt when I heard about the opportunity to get WSET II Certification and I am grateful for the opportunity to be considered for this certification. If you select me, it will be money well spent as I educate not only my guests but also the team I work with on our amazingly well-curated selections.
A week after the deadline, I got an email announcing that I was a recipient of one of the scholarships! Between now and mid-May I’ve got to study my butt off learning about all the unique wine regions of the world. I’ve got to hone my palate and nose, teaching myself what I smell. (Ironically, I’ve learned that there is a surrendering I need to do with my nose and tongue. The more I try to analyze, the more anxious I get and the more I doubt myself. The more I let go and just be present, the easier it seems to be for me to identify the smells/tastes.)
So, to sum everything up, 2019 was a year for physical and emotional change. It looks like 2020 is going to be a year of intellectual growth. These resolutions excite me… which is why I feel confident that they’ll stick. I love reading. I love wine. I love language. I can’t wait to get started!