It’s common in relationships to not fully understand what your partner’s job entails. We’re all busy trying to perfect our own job skills. There isn’t much time left in the day to decipher your SO’s day-to-day job description—or even their formal title. My partner understands I write about wine, but they assumed my job was all about glamorous parties and lavish wine-related travel. It wasn’t until a vacation to Sonoma and Napa to celebrate our wedding anniversary that my partner was able to get a glimpse into my work and why I love what I do.
A personal invitation from Mari Jones, the president of Emeritus Vineyards, led to our first stop in Sonoma. We walked through the vineyards while Jones and I chatted about dry farming, pruning and climate change. Later, the head winemaker joined us for a tasting of their portfolio and conversation about the many expressions of Pinot Noir—the sole focus of Emeritus.
My partner had no previous interest in wine outside of drinking it. They weren’t interested in learning about growing wine grapes, harvesting or the aging process. They didn’t understand why some people like to swirl wine in the glass or why they smell it first, nor did they care. But as we tasted wine and listened to the stories behind the glass, they became more fascinated by it all.
The next few days of our trip were pretty much the same. We visited multiple wineries throughout Sonoma and Napa, walked through various vineyards, observing winemaking processes. We tasted in barrel rooms, enjoyed elaborate food and wine pairings and met with winemakers who explained their vinification and aging methods. There were even times my partner assumed the role of interviewer and asked questions of the winemakers.
Once home, my partner couldn’t wait to tell everyone about our trip. I assumed they would regale their friends with stories about the phenomenal cuisine and beautiful scenery in northern California. Instead, to my surprise, their stories were about seeing wine through different eyes. “Behind every bottle, there’s a story, and talking with people who make and bottle the wine was an eye-opening experience,” my partner told their mom.
Listening to them, I couldn’t help but be filled with joy. They found a new understanding of and appreciation for wine, my career—and me.
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!