I wasn’t always into wine. In fact I used to be a beer drinker – not craft beer either – I’m talking VB stubbies, even dabbling with the occasional Fosters … It’s a quite change from who I am today: someone intensely passionate about wine and half way through a globally recognised (and very demanding) wine Diploma. People often ask me how I got into wine assuming I had some divine calling or a Jedi wine master who took me on the Padawan wine path. But the truth is my journey was much more ordinary, so let me explain… In my late 20’s I was living in a 2 bedroom flat in Oak Park, a northern suburb of Melbourne with my then partner. Wine for me back then, especially red wine, was rough and tannic and generally unappealing so I stuck with other alcoholic beverages, drinking the occasional beer and getting silly on shots of baileys and milk, as you do at that age. I had one of those wooden collapsible wine racks sitting on the floor of the kitchen, you know the type that concertinas for easy storage when it is empty. From memory the 12 bottle rack only had three bottles in it: an Australian sparkling, a non-descript white wine, and a bottle of red that I’d picked up on a rare long forgotten trip to some Victorian winery. Years passed by with the wine bottles in the rack remaining unnoticed and untouched which was amazing as it sat at the entry to the kitchen and we must have walked past it multiple times a day. But one day, for reasons lost in the mists of time, I decided I wanted some wine and started looking through the wine rack. It was a cold day and the bottle of red looked the most appealing. But even back then with my little wine knowledge at the time knew that wine stored in a kitchen for years probably wasn’t going to be at its best. We opened it anyway – the cork (yes cork in those days) miraculously stayed intact and I poured it into the only two wine glasses we owned I tentatively took a mouthful and my mind exploded! I’d never tasted anything like it before – it was soft, and round, and fruity … nectar of the Gods. It was like no red wine I had ever tried before: all of the rough edges smoothed with time, its tannins tamed, leaving the lovely soft fruit filling my mouth with a long pleasant finish. I gained a small glimpse of why people raved about red wine. A spark had been ignited inside me and I needed to know more but without the funds nor knowledge, it would have to wait. The fire would have to smoulder for a while longer before it would be fanned again. Not long after my first positive wine experience my relationship disintegrated and I left Oak Park and my wine journey was put on hold as I focused on other things. But, as with any true calling, the Universe would soon provide just the right opportunity to pursue my newfound love of wine. Soon I would meet a women, Sigrid, who would be instrumental in the next stage of my wine journey. Coming from an impeccable wine pedigree, Sigrid’s ancestors had settled the Yarra Valley and although she wasn’t heavily into wine, she was able to introduce me to wines that I wouldn’t normally have access too. With her support I was able to taste widely and develop my wine knowledge. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that Sigrid is now my wife, and we’ve spent the last 21 years drinking some of the best wines of our lives together. But my journey didn’t stop there … in the next instalment I talk about my professional wine journey, starting a business and how I can help you become “wine confident”.