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Conditioning for the Wine Blogger Conference

Can’t you smell that smell, Ooooh that smell?

Runners’ preparing for a marathon must train, train, train; they must stay fit, a proper diet is important, appropriate equipment essential and an athlete must be focused on winning. I’m preparing for the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. Do I have a preparation routine?

#1. Stop drinking coffee.
Coffee is acidic, when I start back with my coffee addiction, I become acid sensitive. About two years ago I noticed that I had difficulty drinking red wine, because it seemed overly acidic to me. I was concerned until I recognized the correlation of acidic wine + acidic coffee = red wine too acidic to enjoy. I had to give up my daily java to enjoy drinking red wine. It's worth it to me, I drink tea instead, because tea is tannic and does not affect my appreciation of wine.

#2. Stay healthy.
The last thing you want when tasting wine, is a head cold or sinus infection. A stuffy nose will prevent you from tasting and smelling wine and you will be wasting your time trying to. Allergies may still put a hit out on you, especially if you are visiting a new environment with pollens your body does not like. Bring your allergy medicine with you just in case. I once sat through a comparative Syrah tasting of French, California and Washington wines – with a sinus cold - I could not taste any fruit in those wines - all I could detect were the alcohol and the tannins, what a heartbreak, I  love Syrah.

#3. Be rested, fed and hydrated.
All day sessions of wine tasting can take a toll on anyone. Start the day rested, eat at least three meals a day and drink water, drink water, drink water – and don’t forget to spit most of that lovely wine.

#4. Exercise your vocabulary via your senses.
Before large wine tasting events, when I have the potential to taste many dozens of wines, in a variety of styles, I prepare by exercising my vocabulary. Some wines are easier to describe than others, words naturally fall into place. But, other wines, wines outside my experience, can be more difficult to articulate. So I prepare by going smelling and tasting around the house, at the grocery and when I am out and about. It does not matter what I smell (it does matter what I put in my mouth), the point is to stretch my senses and my ability to describe what I smell and taste.

Hyper Sense Engaged!
Now that I’m packed and prepped for the Wine Blogger Conference, it seems that I may have over prepared (athletes have been known to fail due to over preparation). I seem to be a little hyper sensitive to smells. What would you call that, Acute Olfactory Sensitivity?

Yesterday, I was walking through the club gym, past rows of the customary sweating weight litters, stair steppers and a surprising number of pedal pushers, when I nearly gagged as an unseen layer of funk hit me in the face.  The stench almost overwhelmed me. I'm no stranger to gyms, so I was surprised by the ferocity of the smells assailing me.

I couldn't stop myself from inhaling more deeply to better analyze the stink; it was a complex union of toxins, some off-gassing from all the synthetic materials, plus body odors venting from glossy pores, punctuated by notes of mildew from unwashed, sweat-soaked cotton towels, and just look at all those bodies squishing around on bacteria laden plastic seats and hand grips...ugh. I felt like the character from the TV series Monk. Where were my sanitary wipes? But then it got worse, because I noticed it, just under the common, everyday exercise generated funk, another component… I was struck by the primal bouquet from the region of the derrière - the bile in my throat began to rise...okay, I did gag.

The funk was heavy in the air, and I did not like it. Did anyone shower yesterday before heading to the gym? No one else seemed to notice how depraved the air was we were all breathing. This is not what I was preparing for and why did I have to inhale so deeply - reflex? When I returned home, an application of Arabic perfume helped exorcise my sensory memory. Be gone thou wicked stench.

This is the first time I've noticed such an extreme sensitivity to smell. Although, a three day old bottle of Chianti did seem especially tasty with dinner last night. I wonder, if when my smeller is hyper sensitive, would that be an especially good time to taste and review wine? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

I almost did not post this - you can thank me later. Cheers


  1. Doing a few exercise helps you calm down before the event.

  2. Thanks for those great suggestions! Now I know how to work my nose when there are great wines around me! Thanks for posting this. Great job. Cheers!


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