This is the first article I’ve written since 2015. I stepped away from writing for a little while to explore different pursuits, deepen understanding and elaborate on personal study. And yet to a strange avail I accrued a career in wine; a skill and achievement that perhaps by grace fell into my lap.
I was unemployed for about 6 months in 2014 to which I devoted an intense study to the writings of Soren Kierkegaard; reading nothing else every day and all day. Amidst an accrued literary and philosophic interest in Kierkegaard I came across an employment opportunity at Bern’s Steakhouse in January of 2015. I was offered a stewardship in the restaurant’s wine program under the supervision of three in-house sommeliers (French word for wine server or “waiter”). At the time I did not care for wine let alone alcohol in general. My general disposition towards drinking was a staunch disapproval; and yet in the interview I had to argue a basic affiliation for wine knowledge and good presentation skills (I was after all, a “tour guide”).
I fell in love. I encountered poetry, religion, history and the ever so delicate finesse of wine culture through that cellar. Unlike most fine-dining restaurants which boast exlcusive or high-end wine list selections, they do not have even close the extent of bottles inside that cellar (some +500,000-800,000 in total stock). This was all well and good until I realized that I wanted to pursue this professionally and with more ability at provision.
I left and took a strategic step back and spent the next 6 months serving tables at a mall-side Bahama Breeze. My God; forgive us this industry. From there I went to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where I had an opportunity to open a new restaurant under celebrity chef Marc Murphy. If you watch the Food Network, he’s one of the judges on Chopped. I’ve never heard of him or the show, but it was a fine-dining gig inside one of my favorite places on earth with full-time benefits and it got me out of the mall (God have mercy).
I can’t describe too much of my experience here. It was mostly like a party; the place being so big (440,000 sq. ft. with 3,500+ employees) and always having a laid-back, “rock and roll all day and night” philosophy was endless with opportunities. Of course, I grew to hate it given the kind of business and clientele the Hard Rock usually brought in and how little money I was making at a Casino, I moved to the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. I have been there since January of 2016.
In all this time I obtained two professional certifications: Level I and II sommelier certification. I’ve sold and drank some crazy wines all before I turned 22: For example, I’ve had multiple vintages of all five First Growth Bordeauxs as far back as the 60’s; I’ve tried several DRC bottles (mostly Grand Echezeaux and Richebourg) and some of the greatest Spanish Rioja’s (Vina Real, Contino Real, Castillo Ygay). I can’t say why God has interupted 4 years of solid philosophy with such a career. I’m still trying to recover from the daze of it all.
These days I do still revert to my readings and my study. On my off time I’ve written several papers on Anselm’s Ontological Argument and made some considerable revisions. I still read Kierkegaard and enjoy religious philosophy. There is pleasure to be found for sure in drinking wine and the dispensing of graceful service, but God is always sweeter. No longing is truly satisfied and no question is truly answered apart from Him. Our dependency and contingency is always evident and for now present, until we are glorified and jointed with Him in the next life.
Hopefully more articles to come.