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Fine Wine & Debits

A Serious Hobby and A Learning Experience

Last year, I stumbled across an online course about wine. It is offered by the Society of Wine Educators, and there is a designation that comes from passing the course….the Certified Specialist of Wine. I’m a pretty serious wine hobbyist (which means I like to drink it and I like to learn about it, usually in that order) and I have been accused on occasion of being a wine snob. This course sounded like it was tailor-made for me.

So, I took the plunge and joined the SWE, purchased my books, and started studying back in Nov 2019. I knew Dec 2019 would be crazy, so I studied like mad for the first 30 days, then took Dec off. I started back on Jan 1 and I was quickly reminded of how much I love it.

The results of my very early studies have been as follows:

  • I have confidence in making choices about wine because I know more about them. I can walk into a wine shop, look for something in particular, and then purchase it with the confidence that I’ll like the wine. It’s not a shot in the dark.
  • I can compare two wines and make distinctions. I can taste the different flavors in this 2016 Pinot Noir from California and compare it to a Burgundy from France, and decide which I like better. My palette is getting better, in other words. (I like the Burgundy more, by the way)
  • I can speak to other people who are more knowledgeable than I am about wines without being self-conscious that I sound like an idiot. I am nowhere near as intelligent about wines as I will be in a year, but I’m moving forward.

I have this conversation all the time with small business owners: “I love what I do, but I don’t know what I don't know, and I don't know how to forecast what would happen if I made changes.” That’s how I felt about wine for so long! I would think to myself “I really like Cabernet Sauvignon, but I don’t know if I like it more when it’s from CA or when it’s blended in a left-bank Bordeaux.” I didn’t have the confidence to ask questions of those who knew more than me. Let’s face it…wine experts can be intimidating, and I felt like I was over my head.

While learning about wine is a hobby for me, running your business and learning how it works isn’t a hobby for you. You have to know how to read your financials, how to use them to make decisions, and you need to be able to forecast into the future. Learning to do those things will give you the confidence to make bolder decisions; weigh two choices and pick the best one; and you will be able to have conversations with fellow business owners or other professionals without feeling that you’re out of your depth.

We can do that for you. Let us know if you would like to embark on a learning excursion of your own.

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