Have you ever been introduced to something completely alien to you, something you’ve never heard of before that’s swept you off your feet in a whirlwind of emotions and feelings? Maybe it was the first time you heard of and bought a certain clothing brand that fits your body size like a glove. It could have been that exact moment when you heard the whining, melodic sound of Oasis as a band for the very first time. Either way, there’s one thing we can all agree on and that is how big of an impact those moment’s have had on us throughout our lives.
Similar to your life changing moments, I’ve had quite a few myself.
One of my biggest life changing moments happened four years ago, when I was first introduced to the mysterious, yet intriguing natural wine movement. It was a typical dark, cold and windy night in one of the most southern parts of Manchester here in the UK; I hadn’t even turned twenty years old yet, so it’s safe to say I was at an age where a life changing moment was well-needed.
Here’s how it went down…
A close friend of mine who was local to the small town I was living in at the time came around to my house-shared apartment to join me watching the Champions League football on TV, a midweek European football fan tradition that goes back decades! Anyway, he pulls out this pale-coloured bottle of red wine from his rucksack and insists it goes to chill in the fridge for half an hour whilst he explained what the hell was going on…
“Red wine? We don’t drink red wine, c’mon man.” “It HAS to go in the fridge?? Are you feeling alright?”
They are just a couple of the many questions that started aggressively piling on to the traffic jam of questions and queries in my mind.
So he sits me down, and explains that the wine he has brought isn’t just any ol’ bottle of red wine; “it’s a ‘natural wine’ called Thirst made from ‘Gamay’ grapes that are grown on vines in Stellenbosch, the Western Cape province of South Africa”.
(I know, quite fancy and sophisticated for a couple of young guys watching football.)
I nod my head in agreement as if I know exactly what he’s going on about, although truth be told I had no clue what good quality wine was at the time and certainly hadn’t got a notion of what a naturally made wine was. But as I mentioned before, I was intrigued and overwhelmingly curious so I took the bottle of wine out of the fridge myself, screwed the cap off, and lined up two wine glasses to get tasting this fruit-punch-looking beauty.
Now to be honest with you, we barely did any extra research on that bottle of Thirst at all, something I would never think of doing even before purchasing a bottle of natural wine in the present day. My friend and I simply read the label on the back of the bottle, slammed it in the fridge for what seemed like the longest half an hour I’ve ever experienced and then cracked it open.
The feelings and thoughts that followed after our first few mouthfuls of the South African natural red wine were relatable to that kind of moment when you first try freshly squeezed apple juice over ice on a hot Summer’s day.
A refreshingly cold, entirely fruit-focused beverage quenching your thirst with every last sip; only this beverage had a pleasant, thought-provoking alcoholic after taste. So as you can imagine, we were sold on all things natural wine related from that exact moment onward. It was on that dark, windy, cold Tuesday night in Manchester that I experienced natural wine for the very first time, that was the moment natural wine changed my life.