I have no weather memory. Or very little of it from my childhood. Can you remember what the weather was like in winter 2002 or summer 2006? My experience with most people here is that they will tell you the average temperature for that season along with their own bathing temparature (minimum temperature the water must be to take a dip). Perhaps it is growing up in Perth where the weather was always, how shall i say, lagom. Winter was lagom mild, summer lagom hot. There are only two seasons. I recall my first front page headline in the newspaper when I was a young journalist – “Perth Shivers – 0 degrees overnight.” I think I even managed to mention a fatality related to the cold (not from exposure but they left their electric heater on and the room caught fire). If the thermometer exceeded 37 degrees we were technically allowed to go home from school so we hawkishly watched the mercury soar past the old 100 degrees fahrenheit almost every day of the summer but thankfully they kept us learning at our desks in the unairconditioned classrooms. So weather really never mattered to me so I suppose I failed to developed a weather memory.
When weather plays does not play such an important part in our daily life and memory there is so much room for other things to rush in and fill the void. For most Aussies it is sport but for me, since 1984 it has been an interest in wine. That is not to say that the weather doesn’t have a connection to wine – knowing how hot it will be determines how much wine to bring in the esky (wine cooler) to the picnic.
I realised while I was in Australia that what I missed here in Sweden was the passion for wine that goes with living in a wine producing country and where our brains are freed of thoughts and concerns of the weather so we can fill it with overwhelming memories of wine experiences. I met my friend Patrick today and he hinted at a wonderful wine memory from France but did not elaborate further. It was not unusual that his strongest wine memory did not originate in Sweden (“just before Idol started we opened this 1987 Barolo and I almost fell off the Klippan sofa and spilled the wine into the Findus meatballs….” nah, see what I mean?). Maybe Patrick will share his memory with us later?
Visiting literally 30 different wine stores in Australia recently I was overwhelmed by the knowledge and passion of the sales staff. Selling wine was the easy part for them, what they wanetd, and I eagerly gobbled up, was the banter, the conversation, the sharing of wine passion and experiences. Many of the wines they raved about were actually from producers we represent and I had a sharp reminder that our selection of Australian wine is pretty darn good and to be proud of (thanks Peter Walker, our wine agent!).
So I have come home to the darkness, my mind expurged of weather memories, filled with passion and excitement for wine and ready to spread the passion. I am already thinking what bottles to share with a group of friends which will meet next weekend to drink some Italian wines and at a dinner for our shareholders this week. Every wine has a story, every wine is made by the experiences of its winemakers and opening it is in itself a new experience. And every time I meet one of our thousands of members I add to my collective wine experiences and love to hear of their wine memories.
My mission for this winter is to ask you all to clear out your weather memories and replace it with wine memories, either remembered from the past or newly created. Share them with me, your friends and spread the word that a great glass of wine, specially this time of year, is a memory creating experience that knocks dead that memory of the rainy midsummer in 1987.