The ‘Wine’ Inception
Life can be funny sometimes. We were on the other side of the world, about 15 days in to our Camino de Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage when I first suggested: “what about wine?” The Camino was one of the things we had both dreamed of doing, not necessarily to bypass purgatory as the Catholics would believe, but for the mystical experience of walking the footsteps of history. For over 1000 years people have been walking hundreds of kilometres, beginning as far as Portugal or France, across the entire country of Spain to reach Santiago de Compostella Cathedral where the relics of St. James are enshrined. Also, Laurent and I are fanatical lovers of food, wine, and culture and we thought what better way to experience what Spain had to offer than to walk 300km of the Via de la Plata.
But first, lets go back to the week before we were leaving, in July, 2009. Laurent, as a new citizen of Canada, had been given the news that despite 10 years of experience teaching in Belgium, Africa, Mexico, and Canada, he was not eligible for certification as a teacher in British Columbia. This came as quite the blow, especially when learning that his current position as a high school French teacher in Vancouver would not be renewed when school commenced again in September. We were leaving for Spain and Laurent was officially unemployed. What we didn’t know then, was that this was the catalyst for a whole other kind of adventure.
It was during our walk of the Camino, after a few evenings of rewarding ourselves with some beautiful bottles of Rioja, that the ‘wine talk’ began. Our days had been spent meditatively walking, following yellow arrows across the country of Spain, Laurent searching for what to do professionally, and both of us questioning whether we should stay in Canada, or move to Italy, France, or Belgium, or somewhere. Eventually, the discussion led to Laurent’s passion for wine and with his knowledge of French, Italian, and Spanish languages, I suggested “why not see what the world of wine has to offer?” The ‘aha moment’ was there.
Upon our return to Vancouver, Laurent’s passion for the art of wine only grew. He enrolled in wine courses and eventually achieved his WSET certificate. Needless to say I happily embarked on this journey with him, only in a much more informal way. Together we began trying all kinds of wines… tasting, taking notes, tasting, reading, and tasting some more. In September of 2010, Laurent’s passion for the creative process of wine making brought him to an organic vineyard in Montalcino, Italy (Casa Raia), where he gained the valuable opportunity to work for one month and learn hands-on about vineyard management and the wine making process. Leaving Italy, Laurent was certain this was the direction he wanted to go. Yet two major questions remained: Where and how?