Where We Are At, and How You Can Help
The Food and Wine Classic in Aspen remains the pre-eminent food and wine festival in America. After 35 years, the professionalism of the event and its offerings are as honed as the finest knife edge. But this year was different.
With the impact of Bourdain’s passing still achingly present in every conversation, the feelings of sadness, grief and loss were palpable, even for those who never met the revered chef.
But out of this dark and desolate place, rose compassion, honesty, camaraderie, intention and a motivation to strengthen the community, and improve the food, wine and hospitality industry we know and love.
So what have WE been doing to build this community and move things forward since ABG launched four months ago?
Here’s our Big Six:
1. YOU continue to help expand this community.
We now have 300+ industry professionals dedicated enough to engage, read and share this discussion. As this week’s Meet the Tribe member, French wine educator Nils Bihari-Andersson put, “The lack of awareness and discussion in the wider wine business about issues of health, self care, wellness, diet and the importance of exercise are such that I have always felt ‘out of place’ because I am interested precisely in these subjects! And now I have found a place to hang out.”
2. Our conversations are hitting a nerve and creating dialogue.
We must remove the stigma around alcohol. If the number of calls, texts and personal conversations are any indication of what we are up against as an industry, we have a long way to go to find and manage wellness. It can be overwhelming, but we cannot underestimate the power of a motivated group of likeminded people. As American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead stated: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” You are all the motivation we need to keep pushing this subject forward.
3. People are sharing their struggles and asking for help.
We cannot underestimate the number of colleagues, friends and family who struggle in silence. It’s real. We have created a page that lists resources to help educate and support recovery. We need to obliterate the stigma around alcohol, particularly around the desire for moderation. We need people to step forward and support those in crisis. See below for how you can help.
4. We are “doing yoga.”
Last weekend during the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, dedicated members of our community gathered at the base of Aspen mountain to breathe, move and commune on the yoga mat. The decision to show up alone IS yoga. We look forward to meeting more of you on the mat during TEXSOM and beyond.
5. Our 30 Day Practice Will Become A Training Platform.
Thanks to the generosity of dedicated community member, Gill Gordon-Smith, our 30 Days of Practice on mindfulness, breathwork, and meditation is becoming an online training resource. Launching this summer, it shares the tips, tools and tricks we have learned to survive this business, with a little philosophy along the way.
6. Save the Date! A Balanced Glass in New York City – September 12
Update 7/12 - NB WE HAVE RESCHEDULED THIS TO EARLY 2019. THANKS FOR THE INTEREST AND SUPPORT!
Now we need your help. Here’s what you can do.
1. Raise the volume on this conversation.
Use your voice. Share stories, ideas and tools with this tribe and in your community. Help us reduce the stigma of making decisions toward self-care by sharing your story. Remind yourself and each other that we don’t need to have “a problem” to want to make better choices. Hold your employer accountable for supporting your choices and desires to be well.
2. Step forward and support the community.
Alcohol’s impact on our colleagues, friends and family is real, but it is incredibly difficult to find people who are willing to support those wanting to reduce or abstain in our business. Are you sober and active in the business, or know someone who is and is willing to help? If so, and you or they are prepared to be available for 1:1 confidential support, please contact me.
We do NOT offer ANY form of medical advice, but this community is a powerful support tool. Let’s use it.
3. Volunteer your time and presence.
Show up for someone. Ask if they are okay and REALLY listen. Be present. Don’t try to fix it. Simply listen. Also, if you are interested to help us with any aspect of the NY event planning, please email email@example.com
ABG made its way into the world four months ago, and we continue to take steps. Together. And moving in the right direction.
Last weekend in Aspen, I spoke with TV personality and sobriety support advocate Andrew Zimmern. We discussed the critical importance of having a daily practice as a way toward wellness. It’s something we do every day, no matter how small, that turns us toward wellness. It DOES and WILL make a difference.
So as you’ve finished reading, stop and close your eyes. Take a full breath, and as you exhale slowly, consider one thing you are grateful for. Repeat every day. One breath.
That right there, is a practice. And something we can all do.
This Week's Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
“Buried in a new N.I.H. report are disturbing examples of coordination between scientists and the alcohol industry on a study that could have changed America’s drinking habits.”
"The recent report on mental health issues within the drinks industry, and the seminar itself at the London Wine Fair where the results were unveiled, raise a number of key issues that need to be faced, understood and acted upon."
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.
Certified WSET Educator, and Founder - A Glass and a Bottle.
Years In Industry:
10 years living in Paris.
My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
Finding healthy, balanced role models in the wine business. This industry is light-years behind other sectors when it comes to questions of employee wellbeing, wellness, nutrition and self-care.
When teaching, maintaining a balanced alcohol intake is tough so I try to keep three alcohol-free days a week, keep my teeth healthy and make time for fun things outside of wine.
Finally, with my teaching schedule, getting weekly physical exercise done is difficult but as a Certified Kettlebell Instructor, I can do my workout right there in my living room!.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
Knowing when to stop and respecting that other folks have a life outside work is key, and when traveling, I leave extra time to avoid unnecessary stress so I can arrive feeling fresh.
Structured physical exercise sessions with kettlebells or at the gym 3-4 times a week is essential both at home and on the road, along with sleeping enough (8-9 hours a night is ideal.)
Mindfulness meditation and paying attention to deep breathing helps me focus and reduces stress and worries. I use youtube videos and the Headspace app and aim for a 20 min session a few times a week, but even a 10 min guided meditation can do wonders!
Converting to a low-carb, high-fat and high-protein, paleo style diet has helped me tremendously, and reading Mark Sissons’s “The Primal Blueprint” was an eye opener.
I avoid gluten, processed foods, refined sugar and starches and always carry a bag of almonds as a satisfying snack and when tasting I drink 5-6 liters per day, and follow the 1:1 water wine rule. For supplements my staples are milk thistle, Omega 3, Vitamin D and folic acid.
You can follow Nils on LinkedIn, FaceBook or through his website A Glass and a Bottle
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.
- Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines, in Champagne, France, July 5 to 7 (Cathy)
- Wines of Australia event in Lake Tahoe, July 22 to 26 (Cathy)
- Bâtonnage Forum in Napa, July 28 (Cathy and Rebecca)
- TexSOM Conference in Las Colinas, August 11 to 13 (Rebecca)