I drink wine because it makes me happy; amazing ideas for wealth creation and personal development emerge when you are happiest. Truth is, back in the late-90s a lovely lady I was interested in drank copious amounts of it with her friends, so I figured that I should learn a bit about the magical drink called wine in order to assist the friendship along its merry ways.
But I enjoy a wide range of other drinks too, like Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum with Ting or cranberry juice, vodka and a range of chasers. Back in the days of dancing to Stone Love at Tropics nightclub, Guinness Stout was my drink of choice.
Thanks to the Jamaica Observer
When Lifestyle editor Novia McDonald-Whyte and the Jamaica Observer took a chance on me with this wine column, there were about four wine importers who did any meaningful work around the topic of wine. Consumers complained that choices on the market were slim, wine lists in restaurants were scarce, wine events were almost non-existent. Today, wine events are hosted almost every month in Jamaica, there are in excess of 12 importers of wines, the supermarket shelves have a wider collection, specialty shops for wine now exist, the finer restaurants now have a wine list, the Observer Food Awards has a wine awards category and this year a new event -- Salut! -- celebrated wines for a whole week at a two-year-old wine bar.
Thanks to the wine importers
The range of wines in the market has increased and the quality has improved, thanks to the wine and spirits importers who have responded to the call of the market to raise the bar. 2011 brought new importers to the market, and who are still developing their portfolios even as we go to press. Some of the old guards including CPJ, Wray and Nephew, Betco Premier, and Grace Foods are also adding new brands and additional SKUs to their existing portfolios.
Thanks to individuals
I also need to say a big thank you to the very supportive Chilean Ambassador to Jamaica Alfredo Garcia, who does everything he can to support and celebrate the Chilean wines here. I wish other embassies of wine-producing nations would follow his lead. Special thanks to Tom Tyler, Debra Taylor, Fabian Graham, Colin Hylton, Gary Ferguson, Raihn Sibblies, Denzie Sinclair and Brian Lumley who don't hesitate to support wine-related events and tastings at a moment's notice.
Give thanks that we have the freedom to vote.
Today independent Jamaica goes to the polls for the 16th time. Go out and exercise your right and vote. Pick up a bottle of your favourite wine, sip, savour and celebrate ringing in a happy and prosperous 2012.
Live the life you love and love the life you live; it's all in our minds.