VinoTripping Blog

Wine Pivot during Covid


I don’t know about you, but my passion for wine has always been wrapped around travel and experience, the highlight of the back story, romance and glamour that is in a swirl of a wine glass. That beautiful sensual experience of sipping, learning, thinking, and ultimately, a little buzz, drew me to the experience of wine and to the promise of learning and fun, a level of understanding that few have, swirled with travel into my experience. Covid stopped travel, stopped my lifeline to experience and learning, but not being able to travel opened up my life to so much more. I experienced what is truly the reason for living and changed my life forever.

First, covid was awful for so many. As we know, people lost family, friends, children, wages, homes. It’s important to acknowledge that. We made a decision as a family and were fortunate enough to be able to stay in, work from home, hold tight, cancel activities, and move into major hermit mode. At the same time, I made a huge pivot, and took the work I had been doing on myself and ramped it up. I started walking every morning and meditated and worked out and napped and took care of me. All of the time I used to spend running the kids to school and activities I took and channeled into me and our family. A true pivot.

That spring, I started hearing from friends that they were really needing connectivity. I established a weekly virtual wine tasting on facebook live. My first tasting had 4000 people view from all over North America. The viewing numbers diminished week over week, as more and more people moved to online classes and connection. Ultimately our community would average about 150 views. Week to week I would choose a topic around wine, and people joined us with whatever they had at home and sipped along with my husband and I. I had my regulars and many would comment and ask questions. After a while we wanted more, so I created a tasting pack to sell. It was great! We could drink the same wines and discuss them together as a community. I saw others doing virtual tastings, but they missed the interaction. My guests would comment and ask questions and I would answer. It was really fun. I found myself able to indulge my passion of learning about and sharing wine and history and telling my stories of travel kept my passion heated. At the same time, I shared my newly released wine tasting card game, and hosted virtual game nights – more connectivity over wine and new beginnings and learnings. I loved it!

So what changed? Through the pandemic, I truly learned the need for balance. The weeks quarantine led to weeks of tastings, evolving into more wine studies, more work on myself – all great! – but also my family demanded my time. The kids were bored, they needed engagement. We started weekly talent shows. We sang and laughed together. We started watching movies and series together. We actually really enjoyed each other. My soul soared. I loved these interactions! And as the wine nights loomed, I found my family getting less and less excited and more and more agitated. They knew mom was going to be online for an hour and then there may be some follow up and whatever comes with sharing wine online for an hour and they demanded more. And you know what? They were right.

Covid afforded us time to sit back and figure out what truly brings us joy and happiness in life. Some friends became really lonely, a true mental health crisis. And if my wine tastings brought connectivity and light to those folks who really needed it I am truly grateful. I really needed to have the time to share my gifts and my passions and I am fortunate for it in life.

Once the world opened back up and people starting living life again, I vowed this time it would be different. My life would be about myself and my family first. I have turned down all sorts of invitations to connect, to get together and am very selective and cautious with how I spend my time. I found true friends who could get together on kayaks, snow shoe hikes, walks – anything we could do outside to be safe. I also realized that my true self craved, needed, my family time and my alone time and my regrouping time.

Much like a beautiful glass of wine, if it is not balanced (the fruit, acidity, tannins), if life is not balanced, it can start to not be enjoyable. If the experience is not balanced (fun people, great atmosphere) it is not enjoyable. I learned that art in a glass is still a major passion of mine, and as long as my family time is honored, I can still enjoy my passion. But the balance is the key to great satisfaction.

About Author

After graduating from Brandeis University, Alison worked as a teacher at two op high schools in the country and spent her summers traveling the world. On one of her adventures, she visited Stellenbosch and Paarl in South Africa, which ignited a lifelong passion for learning about wine. In 2004, she worked as a Wine Consultant for the Traveling Vineyard and began to study wine more intensively. While working as a high tech recruiter, she completed her Advanced Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in the UK in 2018. Her wine travels have taken her to the wine growing regions of the US, Europe, Africa and Australia. Alison is a member of the Boston Sommelier Society, a member of the Guild of Master Sommeliers and is a Wine, Travel and Lifestyle Media Influencer. She recently created and released her successful wine tasting card game VINO!. Currently, Alison is running her business, Artisan Wine Group, offering private and corporate wine events and sharing VINO! across the globe.

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