A Love Affair with Wine that Started in Florence
Let me present myself; my name is Katarina Andersson. I am originally from Ystad in Sweden, but I live in Florence, Italy, and have for almost 20 years. Today I am writing, live streaming, and in general talking about wine. However, I did not originally go to Florence to write about wine.
Now you might wonder how I ended up in Florence.
Well, it all started on a dark and stormy night….
It really all started thanks to my passion for history and my curiosity to try and do something different.
In the coming articles, I will talk about questions related to wine blogging, how to get started, my experiences, how social media fits into it all, the building of a personal brand, and much more.
From Sweden to Florence as a young researcher
I had just gotten my degree, in reality a double degree, in Italian language and literature as well as in history. My degree paper in history was about radical liberals in Helsingborg that marched around the streets in civic processions in honor of Giuseppe Garibaldi and wrote letters to the Italian political hero, circa 1860.
Why did they focus on Garibaldi?
Because they saw him as a fighter for freedom and democracy that they could use as a symbol in their own attempt to change from a constitution built on the four estates to parliamentarism.
Anyway, thanks to my paper, my family and my professors suggested I apply to the European Union’s research institute just outside Florence. This was how it all started. I was accepted, and I immediately thought…Florence here I come.
It was not my first time in Florence, but it would be the beginning of me ending up living in this beautiful city filled with history.
I finished my dissertation in 2004, after which I taught Modern History in Sweden off and on for a couple of years, but then I decided to remain in Italy. I was dating a guy in Bologna, and it all felt natural to stay as I also had all my friends in Florence. I abandoned the work as a historian and opened a translation activity instead.
Wine conquers all: towards becoming a sommelier
What about wine then? When did that come into the picture? If we fast-forward to early 2012, a friend and I saw a post on Facebook about a sommelier course in the center of Florence. We thought it could be fun to do a first level and get to know new people. We liked it so much, however, we ended up doing all three levels and the final sommelier exam in one fell swoop. So, 1,5 years later we were fresh sommeliers.
While studying and taking the different sommelier levels, I realized more and more how much wine really fascinated me also from a historical point of view. After all, I am a historian at heart.
Wine in Italy is so much more than the mere chemical and technical processes of winemaking, it is:
…all interconnected with each other. We sniff, swirl, and sip, and then exchange opinions and experiences with others. Wine forms communities.
Wine writing without a plan
Together with my fellow sommelier friends, we visited wineries, attended wine tastings and other similar events. I decided I would like to write about my wine experiences and share all this wine culture and tradition that I learned about, but I was not sure where or how to begin.
I thought: I want to blog too!
I opened a free account on wordpress.com without really knowing what I was doing. I just thought, hey, if everyone else can do it, so can I.
I started writing some articles, very haphazardly, not only about wine but also about my work as a translator. I had no clue about content writing, consistency, SEO, social media, etc. in that period. I just wrote every now and then and then shared the articles with my friends on Facebook.
I had been fascinated by Twitter for a while, so I started sharing my articles there, too, and followed a bit of wine and social media people.
Soon everything would change…
In this first article, I have been giving you a brief presentation of myself and I have tried to lead you up to the point when I became a sommelier and started to write about wine for fun.
Passion and fun would soon turn into something more that over time with conviction, strategy, and hard work would turn out to change the professional direction in my life completely.
Learn more in my next article…
Katarina Andersson is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. Grapevine Adventures is where she writes about Italian wine and wine in general.