Speaking without Words, Connecting with Wine

When traveling to countries where we do not speak the language, we are often forced to communicate without words and sometimes we can only use a smile. There is something freeing about not having to use words which, at times, show that  we are filled with misperceptions. Also wine can be a way to start a silent dialogue that allows us to reconnect with loved ones / Leggi in italiano

There is a subtle art of connecting with others that is being lost in the fast paced world of social media. After a trip to the other side of the world, I started thinking about the idea of having to speak to someone without having a common language, and how, like wine, it can help with a deeper connection with others.

I recently returned from a personal vacation in Singapore. My husband and I love not only wine, but food also, and Singapore is one of the greatest Asian food cities in the world – if not simply for its diversity. We love to eat the local food, and Singapore has street food in many forms, one of which they call Hawker Stalls.

Everyday we went to Hawker Stalls trying to taste as many different dishes as possible.

The best known food stalls had a line around the corner, but sometimes we went to some lesser known stalls (lesser known to tourists that is) and hence, sometimes there was a limited amount of English spoken. But there is something freeing about not having to use words. There is something simple about the pure connection of a smile.

It is one of my favorite reasons to travel to a city where I do not speak the language. Sometimes our words can get in the way of connecting. At times, our words will show that we are guarded, untrusting and at often filled with misperceptions. When you can only use a smile, it helps us to connect.

My early years of living in New York City were filled with working long hours six days a week, living at the YMCA and desperately trying to find any apartment I could afford. One day it became too much – I was riding on the subway to work and I started to cry, and my crying turned into sobbing. I felt very alone in such a big city. But then a lovely woman on the train came up to me and placed her hand on my shoulder. I looked up and she smiled at me.

I never had a chance to talk to her, and I have no idea if she could speak English, since many people in New York City do not speak English fluently. And it did not matter. It was better to have no words. In that moment I felt connected, and that I was not alone.

But we are not only limited to having these experiences when we are traveling abroad or living in a city where many different languages are spoken. We can have this same experience with someone we know well – over a glass of wine.

A glass of wine does not only start a connection with someone, it can help us to reconnect. In modern times, it seems there are many things that constantly distract us – to the point where we are not keeping connections with those special people around us. A good glass of wine makes us reflect on the smell and the taste, forces us to take time, and when we are sitting across from a loved one, we take time to really look at them. And we realize we have not taken the time to look into their eyes for a long time. Then we smile at each other, we drink wine, speaking without words, connecting with wine.

Everyday Drinking Wine (less than $15)

2013 Raats Family Original Unwooded Chenin Blanc, South Africa ($12): Chenin Blanc traditionally comes from the Loire Valley in France, but South Africa has become another home for Chenin, where it makes tasty white wines with ripe apple flavors and delicious honeysuckle notes. This bottle was a great example of an inexpensive easy to drink South African Chenin, but they also have other higher priced stunning Chenin Blanc wines in South Africa that are more complex.

Special Occasion Wine (from $15 to 50)

2014 Wölffer Estate Rosé, Long Island, New York ($18): One of the most famous wineries in Long Island, and they are mainly famous for their Rosé – so much so, there is always a Rosé crisis in New York City at the end of the summer due to a shortage of it. A beautiful light pink color and highlights of copper with fresh strawberry flavors and hints of dried thyme. Comes with a screwcap, so makes it easier to open at the beach or in the park.

Fantasy Wine (over $50)

2008 Fessina Musmeci Etna Rosso, Sicily ($55): (95% Nerello Mascalese and 5% Nerello) Light garnet color with smoky minerality, rose petals and sweet tobacco – a very complex, sexy nose. This is the kind of wine that you could smell and sip all day.


I'm very happy to announce that on the 13th of July, I was nominated for Emerging Wine Writer of the Year by the Roederer International Wine Writers' Awards


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