This is a guest post by Alice Longhurst-Jones, also known as The Wine Culturist

What Wine Has Given Me

Do you remember the very first time you tried wine? Maybe it was during a special family meal, perhaps Christmas Day lunch or New Year’s Eve. Or maybe wine was a dinner table staple and your parents regularly topped you up Continental-style in the hope you’d develop healthy moderate drinking habits. My wine story certainly started out more like the latter. I was pretty disgusted by wine for most of my teenage years (although that could have had something to do with the quality of the wine in question!). As far as adolescent me was concerned, wine was strong, bitter, and a very poor substitute for my beverage of choice, Southern Comfort and orange juice (I considered myself a classy teen).

When I got to university I was dragged out of my drinking shell. I’m the kind of person who always has to do the opposite to the herd. On UK University campuses beer is king, so I quickly found myself cruising the supermarket wine aisles on a regular basis. It started out pretty basic – red, white, or sometimes rosé – but as the months slipped by I began to slowly awaken to the fact that I had a palate! There were wines I liked, and wines I didn’t (although it usually didn’t stop me finishing them off).

Before I knew it I was attending wine tastings and visiting wineries on holiday. I probably also started boorishly pontificating on the virtues of fine Provence rosé versus the cheap sweet blush which invariably floods supermarket aisles come the first ray of spring sunshine. I knew it was time to act before I became insufferable. I had to seek out fellow wine lovers who wouldn’t want to strangle me every time I automatically swirled and sniffed a freshly poured glass.

Over the last few years I’ve plunged headlong into the world of wine, and I’m overwhelmed by everything wine has given me. Wine has taken me on many an adventure, from the hilly vineyards of Priorat to the majestic Andes mountains in Mendoza. I’m currently living in Buenos Aires where my life mostly revolves around convincing people of the virtues of Argentine wine and trying as many of said wines as I can get my hands on!

Thanks to wine, I’ve met amazing people both virtually through my Twitter addiction and my blog, and in the real world through studying and working with this divine beverage. I’ve repeatedly had my mind blown by incredible wines – everything from the refreshingly simple rusticity of organic Bulgarian reds to the unbelievable deliciousness of a beautifully balanced Sauternes. Wine just never stops surprising us, no matter how many glasses we’ve had!