Competition – Brandon Reinhardt

Brandon Reinhardt writes: 'I live in Ft Lauderdale FL. I am a husband to my beautiful wife CarrieClore, and a father to my cute little lady Ayla. I live my life trying to be a good example, but also rest in the grace of Jesus Christ. I currently work as a sales manager for State Farm Insurance in my father-in-law’s office. I am currently building an Instagram channel that serves as a creative outlet for me to share about wine in all different types of ways. I just passed the intro course to the Court of Master Sommeliers, and I am studying for the certified exam. An exciting endeavour for the end of this year for me will be hosting my first tasting event!' His unedited, paragraph-free, entry in our seminal wine competition is below.

I was first “bit by the bug” in September of 2016. My wife was out of town on a girl’s weekend, and I came to the conclusion that a night in with Netflix was in order. It was Friday, and I ordered a pizza and beer while searching for my documentary of choice. I came across a film titled Somm and, after a brief read of the description, decided to give it a shot. I thought, “I know nothing about wine but maybe it’ll peek my interest”. I have to be honest, it was very strange to me. The only thing that kept me interested was the comedic pity that the stars had on each other throughout the grueling mess of studies. When I finished the first, I saw that there seemed to be a follow-up film. Only 2 slices and 1 beer into my night I thought, “why not?”, and started Somm Into the Bottle. This was a very different type of film. It was like a children’s book with a foul mouth. So many opinions and so much passion from the “terroir” where it all starts, to the glass where the wine gets its “ne plus ultra”. As each chapter of the film continued I found myself rewinding to take every word in as to not forget this journey I was being afforded. It is safe to say I was beginning to be taken by the grape, but it wasn’t until they spoke to Jean Louis Chave that I felt the “bite”. The history of his families vineyards, the vines that had been there for centuries, and the fact that his dad had the ability to save wine from his birth year (in fact 1 year after because his actual birth year was a bad vintage) was romantic. The idea that you could be a part of something that leaves a legacy and transcends time all while being at every dinner, lunch, celebration etc was wild to me. Immediately I was deep in a world where I was toasting the engagement of my daughter with her birth year champagne. We were all gathered enjoying farm to table meats and cheese, and reminiscing how I safely put away a case of the champagne specifically in anticipation of this day. We stayed up all night sipping and allowing the champagne to take us back to a time when things were far more busy and filled with kids and laughter. They were challenging times but they were great times that we would hold close in our hearts forever. I suddenly came to and realized I missed twenty minutes of the film. I went back to the scene at Chave and just thought to myself, “I need to learn more about wine, this is so unbelievable. Why am I just learning about this?” I allowed the film to continue to play unlit the end and then went to bed. I lied there awake thinking that in the morning I would start my learning. That wouldn’t do, because not thirty seconds later I was on my phone reading everything I could find about “wine for beginners”. When I finally fell asleep into the very late hours of that night, I woke up with an itch that I am still scratching this very moment. I am absolutely certain that wine was destined to be an integral part of my life. I don’t yet know what that is, but I am thoroughly enjoying the journey a glass at a time.

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