Occupational Hazard

Every job has its own set of perils where some are more fatal than others (think deep-sea diver or health workers in Ebola struck regions or Accountants!). The wine industry is in no way exempt and anyone wishing to venture into it should be adequately prepared beforehand.

The first that’s on everyone’s mind is a seemingly harmless tasting mid-week that turns in to a heavy bender! With the better part of the week still left to go and recoveries taking significantly longer nowadays, it can be devastating for the young uninitiated or older experienced individuals a like. And worse off when you are having some cracking bottles you know you won’t get the chance to drink again: you can’t exactly stop yourself, lest the host realizes that you actually aren’t worth opening the bottle for.

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A night would be forgotten with this

Next, none of your family or friends really considers what you are doing a real profession or job. They all think you are a glorified drunk that speaks in an unnecessarily flamboyant jargon when in the company of your observance of hermits. I mean, a simple “Wine good” or “Wine no good” is more than enough to convey the hedonic pleasure you receive from your organoleptic exercise, isn’t it?

Nonetheless, there is a not so silent expectation that you should know every wine bottle that has ever been produced and what it tastes like. Might I add, this too is driven by your ego! When faced with a question about a particular wine you know nothing about, you ordinarily have a choice to either lie based on the country and region the wine is from to give an educated guess as to the possible characteristics of the wine; or to be honest, maybe losing a bit of your wow factor and saying you haven’t had a chance to have a go at it with all those other bottles that need your constant attention as well. 🙂

Speaking about ego, you’ll come across “considerable” ones in your interactions in the industry. They certainly keep things entertaining to say the least, and depending on their influence you’ll find yourself singing to their beat in the beginning (sycophantic bastard – in reference to myself of course). As you grow in confidence and image, you’ll curve out your own path and perhaps at some point be “looked up” to by others as being that “ego” you once “revered”.

Last, and certainly the one that has hit me the hardest involves your teeth! The mixture of alcohol and acidity in the wine causes the calcium enamel in your teeth to erode gradually; which eventually exposes dentin and nerve endings causing pain and sensitivity as well as ruining the structure of your teeth. As if that wasn’t bad enough, you can expect your teeth to also get stained and be discoloured by both red and white wines!!! 😮 Dramatic, I know. But before you go shunning the drink (yeah, like you really can), there are ways that you can minimize the damage, but not entirely eliminate it.

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I apologise, there should have been a disclaimer

First ensure you use a soft bristle toothbrush that is gentler on your teeth. Next do not brush your teeth immediately before or after a wine tasting; give it an hour or more. Saliva works to remineralize your teeth preventing erosion and therefore should be allowed to do its thing. Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva generation which is welcomed. When you do get around to brushing your teeth, make sure you use tooth paste that contains Fluoride (the more the better). Additionally, Fluoride gels such as Elmnex Gelée  should be applied periodically (I had one smuggled to me from Germany).

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Smuggled in by Janina’s mum

Side note: It’s not all bad for your mouth though. Wine helps prevent against dental caries (a bacterial infection) and pharyngitis.

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