Tina Johansson writes, ‘I am a 24 year old wine lover from the northern part of Sweden currently living in Siena, Italy, teaching about Tuscan Wines. I am an educated sommelier and I have also competed in sommellerie in Sweden with a few notable placements behind me. I am currently exploring the great wines of Italy and you can find me on Instagram, @tinahelenajohansson.’ Her brief but evocative (unedited) entry in our seminal wine competition follows.
My passion for wine started with a feeling. It was not an exceptional wine, an inspiring sommelier or an eye-opening wine article that got me hooked as for so many others. In fact, when my interest for wine sparked I was not even old enough to drink yet!
I was 16 years old and sat in the kitchen of my boyfriend with his family as I had so many nights before. It was getting dark outside, there were candles flickering on the table and we were talking about something trivial. His father was playing guitar for fun and his mother was reading a book, and they both had a glass of wine. Which wine it was I cannot remember but I could throw my guess in for a dry, German Riesling which occurred quite frequently in this house.
In that moment this feeling came to me that eventually would make wine my lifelong passion. The feeling of calm, the feeling of belonging to the moment. How wine could bind people together and be something to socialize over and talk about. How wine could be much more than a beverage with alcohol as my young brain had previously told me, wine could be culture. Right then I could see it so clearly (maybe because I was too young to actually drink that time?), this is how I wanted my life to be. I wanted a life where wine could play a role in getting people to stop all their every day stress and just sit down and relax for a while.
Today when I think back to the moment it sometimes feels silly that I was so young but already had my mind made up about wine without ever having tried it. Nevertheless, wine became a big part of my life later on and I still get that feeling every now and then of wine being more than a beverage, it is something to connect over. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, wine binds people together. Is that not the greatest feeling of all?