…  and one day you realize your passion became your day-to-day life. And from that moment on you live a life that is filled with passion. When you do not need to change anything, you do not need to fix anything; because nothing is broken. Everything is perfect the way it is.

Visiting your beloved wine region for the first time.

The very first look at the vineyard, that first heartbeat and you know there is no way out.

The first visit to the winery and you feel like your head is exploding from too many questions you seek answers to.

Your first step in the underground wine cellar with hundreds of wine barrels and you know you found your own kind of heaven.

You know what I mean, non?

Bordeaux, France, 2012.

A year when I found the courage to dream big. The year when those dreams became my reality. The year full of magical events.
The true passion, curiosity, fascination and love from the first sight. An infinite lust ignites from within. It seems like I will never have enough..

Tasting your own vintage for the first time.

It doesn’t matter whether the wine is expensive or not. The opportunity to taste the wine from the same year you were born is a blessing and luxury not everyone can experience.

Your own vintage!

It does not matter whether the wine is good or not. This particular wine has no mistakes. It is perfect exactly the way it is. It deserves all the love and appreciation no matter what.

Tasting a few decades of your own life.. you taste your childhood, you taste your teenage years and your adulthood. That matters.
These memories will stay in your heart for ever.

Tasting vintages of your beloved ones and those that hold memories of important historical events for the first time.

Tasting your own vintage is one thing. Tasting the vintages of your beloved ones and those that bring memories of the historical events is a totally different level of experience. At least, it was for me.

Australia, 2015.
Magic moments I will always remember.

One sip and there was the life of my wonderful parents in front of my eyes. There was gratitude and my heart filled up with love. Tasting the vintages from the years my parents were born felt like rediscovering the appreciation of their unconditional love and support.

These moments are worth living.

Another sip and I could feel the anxiety of people who fought during The First World War and then The Second World War. I could feel their fears, joys and sorrows. I could feel their strength and devotion; their faith and hope. They were all sealed in a single drop of each wine I tasted that day.

The right wine in the glass is an exceptional way to turn back the time.

Tasting wine that is older you’d ever think the wine could be. For the first time.

The Universe is generous with gifts that go beyond the limits of imagination. When you keep your eyes and ears wide open, when you open your heart and keep believing everything is possible, the impossible happens.

Even I, with all of my overdeveloped creativity, could not imagine that someone would offer me something so amazing that almost improbable. I have been invited to the very old part of the wine cellar in order to taste the wine produced one hundred years before I was born…

The 1884 Seppeltsfield Vintage Port was a light bronze coloured wine with green hues (green pea- colour). The aroma was delicate and honey-like with nuts and subtle burned coffee notes. The palate was thick and syrupy, full of walnuts, coffee, caramel and burned honey.

A wine from 1884, the oldest I have ever tasted. That sunny day in March 2015, I tasted 131 years of the history of the world.

My own kind of magic.

When your idol signs for you his (your!) first wine book…

… and suddenly it turns out he is just a man that likes the same vegetarian salad, watches the same films and laughs at the same jokes.

He is no longer ‘a famous wine writer from wine magazines’. He is just a human being that becomes a friend. A friend whose wine path is thousands kilometres longer than mine; a friend, who will be a lifetime inspiration.

During our first meeting I realized that he and I have something in common – a pure and infinite passion for wine and the ability to enjoy it without judging. Over the years each time I had a pleasure to share the meal with him, he reminded me to protect that gift of simply enjoying the wine and switching off that ‘pro’ mode when I am not at work.

He carved these words in my wine-loving heart.

For that and everything else, Dear Hugh, I will always be grateful.

When, after you failed so many times in this field, you recognize ‘the sunshine in the glass’ for the first time.

And strawberries. And saffron. And white pepper. And vanilla.

Hence you begin to distinguish differences between the wine regions and appellations.

A few dozens of tastings later you are able to determine the year in which the wine was produced and the producer itself.

Eventually you know you reached the point you wouldn’t reach by reading books. It’s called ‘an experience’ in wine tasting.

Do not get me wrong, I love reading books and I proudly admit to repeatedly overstate the international average readership. But what I experience on my own skin will stay with me forever.

After all, this is something no one can take away from me.

Tasting the wine which changes your vision about what love is.

Very often, when talking to other wine lovers and wine professionals, I hear a magical sentence: ‘after I tried that particular wine I fell in love and discovered my true passion for this divine elixir’. Yes, one bottle can change the way you perceive wine. One label can make you experience the love from the first sight.

In my case, it wasn’t a bottle of wine that brought me to wine. I would say wine was a bonus element to my job and, to be honest, in the beginning I wasn’t even interested in the subject. However, as day by day I was getting more involved with my work, I haven’t even realized when I fell in love.

A few certificates and many wine bottles later I found The Hurricane. Drinking it was a totally new experience.

It wasn’t only another bottle of wine; it tasted like the first kiss and it felt like a better world which was about to come to existence. Not to mention the entire story which made it even more personal to me and tones of multilayered flavors that came with it. The first time in my life I tasted the wine with an open heart and a happy soul; I was absolutely free.

Albeit I tasted hundreds of outstanding wines, The Hurricane from the Midi was THAT wine. Tasting it changed everything for me– from perceiving the wine in general, through experiencing the particular taste and flavors of the terroir, to an unbreakable connection with people and events that have been important for me. It was a multilayered experience, which made me certain that wine can be so much more than the label and the liquid trapped in the bottle.

Wine can grow into your existence and it is capable of living on its own within your heart. Then it transforms into a fascination. It turns into obsession.

And one day you realize your passion became your day-to-day life. And from that moment on you live a life that is filled with passion. When you do not need to change anything, you do not need to fix anything; because nothing is broken.

Everything is perfect the way it is.

Words: Ela
Photography: Private Archives, © Ela – Grand Cru Experience

Grand Cru Experience Saine Colombe Vineyards
Vineyards in Sainte Colombe, in front of the XIVth century estate Chateau Debois; |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience underground cellar Saint Emilion
Underground cellar |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience Australia Seppeltsfield tasting old vintages
Old vintages tasting in tiny crystal glasses -literally a sip of excellence |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience Australia Seppeltsfield tasting old vintages 1944
Tasting the vintage 1944 from the barrel |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience Tasting Vintage 1915
Tasting 1915 from the bottle just after barrel tasting of 1914 and 1918 |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience - Tasting very old vintage 1884
Magic moment of tasting wine from 1884, a century before I was born |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience - wine from 1884, a century before I was born
Vintage 1884 (yes! 1884!), a 131 years old wine – Seppeltsfield, Australia, 2015 |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience A Girl Never Forgets Her First Time FI
My own vintage – that barrel deserves a big hug |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience -Meeting Hugh Johnson
Meeting Hugh Johnson for the first time, 2014, Bordeaux |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience - tasting the sun in the glass
The sun in the glass |PA©GCE
Grand Cru Experience - The Hurricane wine
The Hurricane |PA©GCE