Can Wine Tasting Teach You Mindfulness? - By Jenny Holt
Can Wine Tasting Teach You Mindfulness?
A glass of wine is a great way to relax – and 53% of the population agree. With stress levels responsible for 1 in 4 Canadians leaving their jobs, it is important to find healthy ways to unwind while keeping the mind healthy and happy. Mindfulness is one such practice that helps to reduce and manage stress. There are many points of similarity between the general practice of mindfulness and the way in which a wine tasting is conducted. Apply mindfulness to your wine tasting for an enhanced and rewarding experience.
What is mindfulness
Mindfulness is the meditative practice of being present, focusing your awareness on your thoughts, feelings and bringing your attention to the world around you. By practicing mindfulness you can relieve stress and anxiety, improve memory and focus; it can be beneficial to your everyday life and have a positive impact on your overall health, making you feel happier and more at peace. Practicing mindfulness causes significant changes in the brain, particularly in the areas of the brain dedicated to processing stress, calmness, and focus. Unlike meditation, which requires dedicated time for practice, mindfulness can be exercised anywhere, at any time – although there are measures you can take to develop your mindfulness further.
A mindful drinking practice can help you experience a more vivid wine tasting, and it doesn’t require any particular training or rehearsal in advance. By taking the principles of a wine tasting, and applying mindfulness techniques, you can enjoy an enhanced wine tasting experience. Before you begin, take a few deep breaths to quiet the mind and relax. This will help you to bring your focus to the present and prepare you for your enhanced wine tasting experience.
Looking at a glass of wine can give you plenty of information about that particular wine; climate, age and grape variety can all potentially be identified by a keen and knowledgeable eye. By focusing your eye on the glass and its contents, you are drawing your awareness to the present – let all other thoughts go, and take in the moment. By purposefully shifting your focus, you are actively releasing any negative ideas or stressful thoughts, improving your ability to manage stress.
Giving the glass a swirl opens up the flavours and aromas of a wine. When you smell it, you prepare your brain for the wine you are about to taste, and this opens up your palette for a more enhanced experience. Your sense of smell can be one of your strongest senses for evoking memories and feelings. The art of mindfulness is to notice without judgement, so be aware of any feelings that these smells may provoke – try not to think of them as good or bad, and just notice them. This same principle encourages you to be more passive in what affects you on a daily basis; allowing yourself to feel more neutral and less negative helps to break thought patterns that can cause depression and anxiety, and help to create a healthy mind.
There is a lot you can learn from the taste of a wine; how sweet it is, how acidic or mineral it is, if there are any tannins and whether or not you enjoy the flavours of the wine. Your taste buds will react to the wine, giving you an internal thumbs-up if it approves. Pay attention to any feelings you experience; your mind will be preparing your senses in anticipation, so gently notice any sensations in your mind and body. Notice also how the taste of the wine makes you feel and how you identify whether you like that particular wine or not.
Practicing mindfulness encourages you to be less emotionally negative about the experiences you have in your life. By applying these methods to your wine tasting, you will find that it is a more enjoyable and rewarding experience, and possibly even more memorable because you took the time to be present at the moment.