Coming Home: Five Gifts of Life Outside of Wine

Coming Home: Five Gifts of Life Outside of Wine

Maybe you’ve spent a few days or a week or a few weeks on the road. I daresay that all you want to do is drop your bags at the door, hug your beloveds, and catch-up on hours of all-too-elusive sleep.  

 While self-care can be as simple as taking an extra long shower, making your favorite healing beverage, or reading the kids a bedtime story, let me suggest that returning to the community – your community, your people – is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.

Consider these five reasons why.

 The Comfort of Familiarity

There is comfort in familiarity. Whether it’s hitching the dog’s lead to take him on his favorite walk, taking the short-cut to your favorite workout class, or the feeling of your tattered gym bag slung over your preferred shoulder. What’s familiar feels good.

There’s the familiarity of your “other” life. Friendly faces whom your recognize, not because they work for another importer, or call on the same accounts, or are in the same tasting group. But they’re here in this communal space, where they might work-out at the same time or share your same locker row. What’s familiar also feels safe.


Comforting Sights and Smells

Our brain anatomy is triggered by smells, and as wine industry professionals, we are highly attuned to constantly see, sniff and analyze everything that goes into our olfactory system. As Dr Jordan Gaines Lewis, Ph.D. observes, “smells ring bells,” and aromas trigger our emotional responses. Maybe it’s the waft of chlorine as you open the entrance door to the local swimming pool, or the sweet fragrance of smoldering palo santo emanating from the meditation room, or the fresh damp undergrowth as your foot hits the familiar forest path on a run. You are home.


You Get to Speak “Non-Wine” Speak

You can finally switch off the part of your brain filled with pH, varietal composition, vintage conditions, terroir and geology. And reacquaint yourself with the simplicity of the sound of your breath, and the movement of your body. Right back where it all began.


Life Goes On

When we are gone from community, even our most treasured of teachers evolve and change. That’s natural. But almost like no time has passed, the precious gift that is a student-teacher relationship is rekindled and we pick up where we left off. Great teachers and community leaders check in on our bung shoulders, knocked about knees, and can help us in self-care to return to center.


Practice Deepens with Shangha

Being surrounded by those we love, respect and appreciate is the greatest gift.

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thích Nhất Hạnh, has described sangha as a “beloved community,” where people seek to encourage, inspire and support one another in a meaningful way. Community is what brings us together, holds us up, and accepts us fully.

Nothing replaces the feeling of returning home. And no matter how fleeting your respite may be, try to find the gift in the smallest of spaces, and times. Not only does community get you “back in the game of life,” by simply being present in the community, you may actually also show up for someone else who is in need.

In need of your friendly face, or your warm smile, or simply the comfort of knowing you are home.  

And that is a gift in and of itself.



Meet the Tribe:

Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.


gill gordon smith.JPG

Gill Gordon-Smith VIA, CSW. FWS (AU)

Founder and Winemaker - Fall from Grace, McLaren Vale | Education Coordinator - The Wine & Spirits School TAFE | 2017 Wine Communicator of the Year (AU)

Years In Industry:

40+. I grew up in McLaren Flat, South Australia and have always worked in education, wine and hospitality. I had a 20 years stint with Qantas airways as a “hostie” and helped develop the “Sommelier in the Sky” Program and today I own and manage a small winery and wine retail store in McLaren Vale, while coordinating the WSET and wine programs for TAFE South Australia.

My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:

It’s me! I find it difficult to slow my mind, I really love a challenge, and I have an imaginative and enquiring mind so I’m very adept at overthinking things and find it hard to say no. Finding time to eat well, and keep my body moving and active has actually become harder. When I was flying, I had more time to myself but juggling family, work and students can be an issue and I have acknowledged that I am my own biggest challenge and critic!

How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:

I am a really early riser, 4am-5.30am every day, no matter where, so I try and go to bed early. I actually find the stillness in the morning and the quiet of the house my best time to get things done. I wake up, find that moment of stillness, focus on my breathing and then unwind my body. My yoga practice varies from 10 minutes to an hour and I try hard to not beat myself up about how it, and I, have changed after a significant break. I had some great advice from an older women - at the end of the day most things in life are measured on a scale of “burnt toast to death” and most are burnt toast. Things can wait. I also love to walk my dogs on my local Maslins beach.

You can connect with Gill on Instagram, Twitter or via her website at


What We’re Reading:

There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week. 

A (Guided) Meditation for Easing into Sleep -

“The more you try to force sleep, the less likely you are to achieve it. Explore this guided meditation to let go of stubborn thoughts and get a full night's rest.”

Why Women Need Fierce Self-Compassion – Greater Good Magazine

“When women encounter pain and suffering—in others and in ourselves—we are expected to respond with gentleness, tenderness, and warmth. But today, we need a different response: fierce self-compassion.”

Let’s Meet Up!

As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you. Check out details on the Let's Meet Up! page over at A Balanced Glass.

Drop a line to or if you are interested in getting together for practice, a chat or a great glass together. 

What to Do When Your Heart is Out of Balance: Facing Inequality in Our Industry

What to Do When Your Heart is Out of Balance: Facing Inequality in Our Industry

5 Fundamental Yoga Stretches and Why We Do Them

5 Fundamental Yoga Stretches and Why We Do Them