Drink Your Words by Carolyn Dismuke

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Author | 0 comments

Discovering California’s Other Wine Regions

“Drink Your Words”

I used to think “California Wine Country” meant Napa. I was wrong. Then, I thought it meant Sonoma. Wrong again. What does it mean? I felt inspired to find an answer. I left San Francisco for what I thought would be a year long journey, living in a different region every month. Wrong again. I loved being wrong this time!

My lucrative corporate career was fulfilling. But my thirst for knowledge about wine overwhelmed me. I craved more knowledge. Then, I found two world-renowned wine studies programs: one specialized in hospitality while another focused on geography and history. The scholastic sojourner in me chose the latter.

Breaking Boundaries: A Journey Beyond Classroom Wine Studies “Drink Your Words”

But something felt wrong about studying wine in a classroom. Even though the curriculum included tastings, I wanted to get hands-on into the soils, microclimates and techniques. The program had 8 chapters on France, 7 on Italy, and one chapter on California, Oregon, and Washington that skipped my favorite beautiful back roads and wine destinations. I felt compelled to teach myself what the program missed. If no one has written about it yet, I felt it was my fate to do so.

And I wasn’t going to do it from San Francisco. I’d have to put all my stuff in storage, rent my beloved apartment, and become a vineyard vagabond. My heart broke a little bit, packing all my belongings into a cold cement storage locker. But leaving my comfort zone behind freed me more than I’d imagined. It’s true what they say, when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Chapter Introductions: Settling into New Homes and Surroundings

Each chapter begins in a new region and rental or home for the month. So, a description of the place and how I settle in is important because moving is stressful and so is an outdoor shower, waterfall noise, or birdcage. Yet, there were often surprisingly lovely amenities like a balcony facing the green mountain in San Luis Obispo over a garden courtyard. I fell in love with a bunkhouse I rented on a lovely horse ranch in Santa Ynez. Often work dominates the beginning of each chapter but that makes taking a neighborhood walk even more important, leading to imagery of my surroundings, beautiful or scary.

Chapter Highlights: Wine, Food, and Life Lessons

The meat of each chapter is what wine I’m tasting where, foods to pair, and what I’m learning about the soils, microclimates, and viticulture. This often leads me to revelations about life. Friends and family also frequently play their supporting roles with a certain level of drama. As in life, medical issues arise along the journey that need to become the focus until a remedy is found but I do my best to discover quick natural cures so that I can get back to my passionate project. Each chapter ends with an ache to have to leave or urgency to get moving on, depending on how comfortable I was in a location. Sometimes there’s an amalgamation of both as I fall in love with a town yet feel compelled to continue living this blissful life.

Chapter Surprises: Breaking Routine with Unexpected Turns

Obviously, certain chapters deviate from this structure to break up the monotony. For example, in the middle, there is a turning point and somewhat upsetting sleep walking experience. I attempt to take each experience, good or bad, as chance to learn something either about myself or life. Every destination seemed to lead to more opportunities to learn. So, I got a second wind after 12 months, and continued for 25 months. I even started collecting recipes from winemakers who cook with their wine for another book. An overwhelming passion took a toll physically. Perhaps the disconnection needed mending.

Awakening Beyond Comfort: Embracing Life’s Contrasts

Once outside my comfort zone, I had an awakening. It caused many seemingly opposing factors of life to collide, factors that we all share: city versus country life, single versus married (or divorced) life, business versus pleasure, learning while teaching, listening versus hearing, abundance versus scarcity, loneliness versus solitude, independence versus commitment, driving versus surrendering to being a passenger. The book illustrates you can have it all. 

Evolution of Exploration: From External to Internal Discoveries

At the onset, it was a journey to learn and experience new discoveries about the bounty of appellations surrounding me. Yet, it evolved into an internal journey. After getting beyond the noise of a big city, I became a more attentive listener. Moving to a new town so frequently was difficult but inspired me to reconsider some of the most basic beliefs about the concept of home. It opened my heart and mind. The highway began to feel like home. So, it is hopefully an experience many readers can embrace. 

Finally, the ending has a bittersweet epiphany caused by a wistful interaction with a 6 year old girl, hinting to a sequel. She reminds me of the kid I used to be, the way I used to think. It is there to remind us of the Blakean concept that, as we journey through life, gaining wisdom, we should also never lose that innocent child within us. “Drink Your Words”

Thank you, Readers Magnet for creating a sacred space on the Authors’ Lounge for me to tell my story and also my book “Drink Your Words”

Discover more about me and my work at DrinkYourWords.com.

Get your own copy of Drink Your Words and travel vicariously with me from Amazon.

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