The art of resolve


Photograph: Jason Lowe

As many are choosing what to relinquish for the New Year, Wine and Spirit Education Specialist Barbara Drew argues for an alternative approach – embracing a new indulgence that will last beyond January’s chill

Resolutions, resolve. These words, to me, conjure up images of earnest UN envoys staying up, late into the night, to discuss a global emergency, of iron will and forging onwards through adversity. Neither, I’ll be honest, particularly appeal at this time of year, when days pass without a glimpse of the sun and the only link we have to holidays in warmer climes is a killer flu.

I prefer indulgence; not a word normally associated with January except in the context of “over-“. However, for me January is the perfect month for indulgence. I don’t mean devouring a box of less-than-exciting chocolates, which make you feel sick before you’ve eaten even one, or forcing down another gammon sandwich. No, I mean indulging in those things you really love by focusing on them, and investing in them. It may be succumbing to that cashmere throw, that will make devouring box sets on the sofa so much more luxurious. Or investing in hideously expensive bath oils that scent your entire house with jasmine. For me, it’s spending the time on an in-depth knife skills course. Like many in the wine trade I love food and cooking, but my current approach to chopping an onion makes it almost a certainty that I’ll lose a digit or two before I’m 35.

If you love something (in my case, my fingers, and cooking) treat it with respect. Invest in it. For wine, this could be as simple as buying some large-bowled, thin-rimmed glasses to serve it in, to bring out the delicate aromas of that beautiful white Burgundy. Or in learning more about where your wine comes from and how it’s made. Or it could be a case of expanding your horizons and exploring further afield; discovering grapes you never knew existed in Italy, or rediscovering the communes of Bordeaux. It’s thus no surprise that we see many new faces fill our Wine School courses each January, doing just that. But normally, it’s not long before they’re back for the next one, eager to venture further into the world of wine. For me (and if my fingers survive), it’ll be a butchery course at The Quality Chophouse – wish me and my digits luck…

If you haven’t yet decided on a New Year resolution, you can browse all our courses (and wine glasses) on