Skip to content

What’s your spin? What’s your story?

October 16, 2019


According to Martha Beck, in “Finding Your Own North Star, 

“You’re inevitably going to “spin” the story of your life, so you might as well spin it in a cheerful direction…tell yourself a lie story in which you, the hero, are primarily a problem solver rather than a helpless victim.

Neither story is the absolute truth; all our life narratives are based on selection and “spin.”

I just came back from France where I competed on the US Wine Tasting Team in the World Wine Tasting Championship held at Chateau Chambord, one of the world’s most impressive castles, located in Loire, France.

Organized and sponsored in part by La Revue du vin de France, the challenge was to taste and identify six white wines and six red wines. We received points if we could identify what kind of grape was in the wine, where it came from in the world and which region in the country,  who made it, and in what year.

The US Wine Tasting Team: Californians Gwendolyn Alley and Sue Hill, and Texans Jacob Fergus and Taylor Robertson.

By winning a place on the team, we won a free trip to France and accommodations and meals at the Chateau as well as a tour hosted by Wine Acuity. Read more about the competition here and how we won. Sue and I arrived a week before the competition and we stayed in Paris for two nights after while other teammates arrived later and stayed later. Read more about our adventures in the vineyards, cellars and with producers in Champagne for four nights and threes days and in the Loire for four nights and four days here; we met with and interviewed over 10 biodynamic winemakers in one week!

Now every one wants to know how well we did in the contest. 

One spin would be that we did terribly, horribly, and to focus on why. To focus on the cheating of one team in particular who got in trouble for cheating before. 

Another spin would be to focus on the positive– what we got out of the experience. 

Our team was called up early, which meant a low score. Disappointed but not surprised, we went to the front to accept our prizes. Our team captain made a few statements, then I grabbed the mic and this is what I had to say more or less:

“We may have placed near the bottom, but we’re already winners, we already won. We won just by being here in this beautiful place with all of you. And you’re all winners too — winners of your own country. We are all winners to be here. Thank you!”

It was great to hear the applause from the more than 100 competitors and others who were there– but it felt great to share that message with everyone.

To put a cheerful spin on it.

waiting for the results, we took a few team photos…

Here’s my question for you today: are you a winner or a loser? 

Here’s my answer: every day that we show up and do our best to learn and grow and make the world a better place we’re winning. 

It’s up to you to select what spin you put on your own story — and it is up to you to figure out what sort of spin you want to take on the stories of others.

Why not spin it in a positive, cheerful direction? Why not make the story one of being a problem solver and a hero?

There’s many more stories to spin about our trip, but most of those will be spun over at Wine Predator. So head over there and subscribe if you’re over 21!

a rainbow during a rainy sunset in Montreal-Bellay, Loire France — just to the right of the house we could see the castle which was a 10 minute walk from our Air B N B















Oh and who won first place? FRANCE! I’ll post more about the results over on Wine Predator ASAP.

The inspiring quote and artwork above comes from Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo “one of the only westerners trained in the rare Buddhist art of silk applique thangkas… His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his blessings to Leslie’s work and encouraged her to make images that speak to the spiritual aspirations of people across religions and cultures.”

Leslie’s work “is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film, Creating Buddhas: the Making and Meaning of Fabric Thangkas. Leslie mentors a select group of students around the world through her Stitching Buddhas Virtual Apprentice Program, and her Weekly Wake-ups provide a thread of inspiration to set your week on the path to awakening.”

PS Happy Birthday to my spouse! He’s another year older today!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Crushed Grape Chronicles

Adventures in Wine Exploration


Taxi Talk Without Tipping

Querus Abuttu

The "Q" Review

Jack Elliott's Santa Barbara Adventure

. . .tales from one man's wanderings, regional insight and history

The magical world of wines from Grocery Outlet

The best and the worst of Gross Out.

Stephen McConnell

A Daily Journal of Fruit, Structure, Varietal honesty, and Balance.

Sonoran Images

Photography by Steven Kessel


Diary of a Wine Student

Syrah Queen

Wine, Food & Travel Resource

The Paper Plane Journey

About my passion for wine and travel

Briscoe Bites

Booze, Baking, Big Bites and More!

Mythology Matters

Matters of Myth, and Why Myth Matters

Smith-Madrone News

Good Thoughts & Great Wine from Spring Mountain, Napa Valley

Fueled by Coffee

Lifestyle, food, parenting, DYI

Bottled Bliss

Day-colored wine, night-colored wine, wine with purple feet...

Do Bianchi

Negotiating the Epistemologic Implications of Oenophilia


Global wine culture

Elizabeth Gabay MW

Wine, Food and History: from the Rhone to Piedmont

Budget Trek Kashmir

Family run Company Specialist Trekking in Jammu & Kashmir, North Indian Himalayas,

Oldfield's Wanderings

Objects in blog are closer than they appear

Memorable Moments

With Lists & Adventures That Keep Life Interesting

Vinos y Pasiones

Información acerca de bodegas, vinos, gastronomía y enoturismo.

Best Tanzania Travel Guides

from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti and beyond


The Best Guide in Tanzania

Pull That Cork

Wine makes our life more fun.

Always Ravenous

Adventures in Food and Wine

Joy of Wine

"Wine cheereth God and man." -- Judges 9:13

Side Hustle Wino

If you're not having fun, you're not doing right.

Vineyard Son Alegre

Organic Wine And Olive Oil From Santanyí, Mallorca (Spain)

L.M. Archer

wordsmith | consumer, b2b + b2c

What's in that Bottle?

Better Living Through Better Wine!


My humble wine blog


When food and wine click!

The Flavor of Grace

Helene Kremer's The Flavor of Grace

The Swirling Dervish

Wine Stories, Food Pairings, and Life Adventures


Living La Vida Vino!

Dracaena Wines

Our Wines + Your Moments = Great Memories

Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

Gretchen L. Kelly

%d bloggers like this: