Michelle Kwan Michelle Kwan is a restaurant,  wine and lifestyle writer who is a native of and based in New York City. She writes for Gayot-The Guide to the Good Life, E-How, Global Post Food and Travel Sages. She has loved to eat since she grew teeth. Now she dines with wines.


Every wine drinker has a wine mind. You might be the adventurous type who’s always on the lookout for a new varietal. Otherwise, you may be a Riesling loyalist or a Franciacorta faithful, whatever the case may be. Wine might be your drink of choice when it’s time to unwind. Or you may be the technical type ready to study the ins and outs of wine until you can almost tell champagne from Prosecco just by listening to the pop.;-). There are almost as many ways to be wine minded as there are wines. So, what kind of wine mind are you?

Wine Fumbles-Don’t drop the glass!

Or Follies from the Vine.

In football it means dropping the ball.

In the wine media world it might be the equivalent of saying or doing something that rings as loud as the sound of shattered glass and we’re not talking a Greek wedding either. Well, I didn’t drop my glass but in a few of these cases, I think I almost wish I had instead.;-).

I went to a portfolio wine tasting several years back the first time I started blogging about events for Gayot. I approached a table featuring a Loire Valley based vineyard headed by a well arrayed young French woman with a streamlined figure and a haircut to match. She smiled. “Could I try the Sauvignon Blanc please?” I gestured to the vertical line up of bottles with my glass. “Sancerre?’ she replied almost rhetorically. “Oh no. A Sauvignon Blanc please.” I reiterated. She paused bottle poised at the ready. She squinted at me subtly. “Sancerre is Sauvignon Blanc in this region.” She said softly. “Oohh.” I drank the tasting pour in one gulp-no spitting-and skulked away. She was nice enough not to say “You idiot.” Thankfully my identification badge was flipped the other way!

Moral: Know before you go.

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Speaking of nice, I attended a multi course wine dinner at Ai Fiori in 2013 organized by Sopexa, a leading wine and spirits marketing company, for wines from the Pays d’Oc. I arrived in the private events dining room and randomly selected a seat. I draped my cardigan over the back of the chair and made a quick run to the restroom. When I returned, a woman had moved my cardigan to the next chair and was sitting in my spot. I sat down. The woman had been speaking to her colleague next to her. But she turned to me and asked “Would you mind switching seats with me?” “Sure.” I mean, why not? Naturally everyone wants to sit next to their friend. Well we struck up a conversation.  The woman happened to be a lover and fine writer of wine and spirits as well as the wonderful chairperson of the Wine Media Guild. The Wine Media Guild encompasses an international group of wine writers, reporters and distributors-Masters of Wine, Master Writers, Masters of Industry, Kung Fu Masters-I have to check on that one-who share a love of wine in the bottle and on the page. I told her I wrote about restaurants, wine and lifestyle events as well as hotels for an international publication. She graciously asked if I wanted to join the Wine Media Guild. I said yes of course. She and a few other members were nice enough to nominate me. We have been friends and fellow members ever since.

Moral: Be kind. Because, why not?

Lesson-I think I already knew that one.;-).

I attended a wine lunch at Lafayette restaurant some time back. It featured roses’ from Provence along with whites and reds. We were seated for lunch with one of the distributors when the server poured the selection for the second course. I took a sip and declared “Very nice.” The rest of the table was quiet. After a moment the distributor motioned to the server. “Could you please get another bottle? I think this one is corked.” She said discretely but I heard every word because I was sitting next to her. The server replaced our glasses and poured another round. Needless to say they all agreed with the distributor.

Moral: Don’t talk with your mouth full.

Lesson Learned.


I know much has been said when it comes to equating wine with age. But wine is really a lot like life. With age we hope to become more well rounded, achieved greater balance, soften and smooth harsh tannins-okay maybe that one doesn’t apply directly-still we also hope to build greater character and add complexity. In short what we want for our vintages is what we hope for ourselves.

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