For some, mindfulness is a tried-and-tested method of finding peace among our frenzied lives. For others, it's nothing more than a modern buzzword. And for us? Well, we think mindfulness is actually pretty similar to tasting wine, which we've been doing for what feels like forever – or fifty years, at least.
Over those past five decades, our estate has become a fully organic operation incorporating the winery, vineyards, cellar door and eco-lodge accommodation. Our Headspace range was created to celebrate the clarity of intent that came with deciding to pursue, over successive generations, elegant wines made in a sustainable, organic fashion, making them a great wine to try wine mindfulness, or winefulness, for yourself.
What is mindfulness?
Think of it as zeroing in on the present moment, finding a focus without any effort. Meditation has many benefits and clearing our heads of clutter is an important first step. Take some time to put the past and future aside and embrace what's sometimes referred to as the 'Eternal Now'. Mindfulness is about being fully present, wherever you are, and cultivating an increased sense of awareness. And though mindfulness may seem like a recent trend in Australia, it's been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years, especially in the Eastern world by followers of Buddhism. The benefits are well documented; all that's left to do is find an enjoyable way to bring mindfulness into your life.
How to bring mindfulness to wine tasting
When tasting and assessing a wine, the three main things we look for are appearance, nose (aromas) and palate (flavour, acidity, tannins, texture and so on). These allow us to make a judgement on the overall quality of a wine, but when it comes to mindfulness, we're not really drinking to determine the quality; instead, we want to fully immerse ourselves in the wine and its characteristics.
Before tasting your wine, make sure you've set yourself up somewhere you feel at ease. Try to approach the exercise as you would a date: dim the lights, set the mood and minimise distractions. That said, be sure to keep your scented candles for an actual date as the aromas will likely confuse your senses. Now that you're set up, it's worth taking a few minutes to relax and pour your wine, letting it breathe in the glass if you haven't already. Perhaps try meditating by breathing deeply, counting your breaths and listening to your body – or be like the glass: still, breathing and at one with the wine. When you're ready, follow these simple steps:
1. Look at the wine
Hold your glass to the light and look at the wine's colour. Is it pale? Deep? In between the two? Where have you seen the colour before – does it remind you of anything, can you see it in your mind’s eye? Maybe try speaking these things out loud to make a more concrete connection.
2. Swirl 'n' sniff
Ever wonder why we swirl our wine? It actually causes the alcohol to evaporate, releasing the aromatics while dispelling any unwanted odours. So swirl away, then bring the glass to your nose and close your eyes. What do you smell? If it's the Headspace Pinot Noir, you may get raspberry, mulberry, or even a hint of liquorice. The Headspace Shiraz, on the other hand, will likely show darker fruits like cherry or blackcurrant along with pepper. Breathe deeply and remember, there are no wrong answers here – smell is one of our most evocative senses and you're simply trying to know the wine as well as you can.
3. Taste the wine
Take a sip and slosh the wine around in your mouth – do the flavours match the aromas? Are they what you expected, or are they different and unexpected? Are there flavours of red fruits, like cherries, in the pinot noir? And is the shiraz giving off brambly flavours, pepper, or even cocoa? Again, there are no wrong answers, so take your time, have another sip and try to separate each individual flavour. You may even wish to write them down. Be on the lookout for tannins, which coat your tongue and tend to dry the mouth out, as well as acidity, which will make your mouth water. To start with, try concentrating on only one of them – flavours, tannins or acidity – during each sip and see what you can pick out. Once you've swallowed the wine, count how many seconds the fruit flavours stay in your mouth – this is known as length. The longer the flavours last, the higher the quality of the wine, generally speaking.
4. Drink the wine
And once you finish the glass? Well, pour another one, if you feel like it. We don't want you to rush, but we do want you to enjoy your wine journey and notice how the flavours, texture or intensity changes from the first glass, to the second, to the last. We've found that this is a wonderful way to relax at the end of a busy day, or on a weekend, either by yourself or with friends who are also interested in wine and being present. With so much complexity in every bottle, it takes a high level of focus to separate all of a wine's flavours and aromas, and you may just surprise yourself with how relaxing you actually find the process. Or you may just focus entirely on the process of looking, smelling and tasting and enjoying the interaction of human and wine on a purely sensual level with little or no internal conversation.
Ready to be more mindful with the Headspace range? You can shop the '19 shiraz and pinot noir in our online store.