Ramblings. Because it is that time of year.

So. An interesting year.

I have worked with some outstanding people, and learned some difficult lessons. I’ve eaten a little too well, drunk even better, and made some outstanding new friends.

I also came a wee bit too close to dying – twice – due to my silly body and some inept medical professionals. My ankle is due to be sliced into again in coming months. And I worked harder than I ever might have anticipated at the gym. Because: balance.

The wine people have been wonderful, as always. Supportive, fascinating, and inquisitive.

The hospo trade have been generous, and accommodating. Mostly. Except for the ones who are not. A sale is definitely NOT a sale until it’s been paid. And I will be a thorn in the side of those who try to take advantage.

I wonder, still, how we can improve our wine world. Make wine easier, accessible, less of a club and more of a free pass to fun. We need to address our wines to the wider society and be clear about varieties, styles and our voices. Open the gates and invite the world in rather than drowning our industry in words (and yes, I am well aware of the irony) and confusing our consumers. A back-to-basics approach with us simply finding out what people like and selling it to them. Take them on a journey, sure, but let them enjoy the sights (tastes) rather than just listen to a tour guide.

We need to find a way to find the fun again. Enable people to enjoy the diversity without drowning them in lingo.

But it is the end of 2015. And vintage 2016 looms large for many of us.

I’m going to be kinder to myself, and possibly less grumpy as a result.  I promise to buy fewer shoes and to contribute more to society. I’m not making wine in 2016, but I am laying the plans to be back in the winery in 2017, making the wines I like to drink.

I’m going to meet more people, and join random clubs. I’m going to say yes way more often. I’m going to complain less and fix things more. I’m just going to be me. If anyone wants to join in at any point, go nuts.

Hello 2016. You will be what I make of you and that will be awesome.