What speaks to you?

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t answer that question and primarily because of the long-standing misunderstanding of what these two words mean.

Our common understanding of an extrovert is someone who talks all the time, takes over the conversation and directs all aspects of an interchange. Our common understanding of an introvert is someone who is afraid to talk, always sits in the back of a room and is reluctant to interact in a public setting.

Very simple explained, an extrovert is someone who focuses outward into the world and gains fulfillment and energy from what’s happening around them. An introvert is someone who focuses inward into their own thoughts and finds strength in the quiet.

So, which are you? A talker or a listener? One who is actively engaged in every aspect of daily existence or one who is comfortable to sit back and watch the movements of daily existence? Guess what? It’s not that simple!

The fact is most of us contain a bit of both psychological traits and that’s what makes us so interesting. Yes, we are usually on one end of the psychological spectrum or the other but many of us live with both traits — which one gets used, depends on the situation.

Recently I was visiting with a person who works for the Veterans Administration. As we were talking, I could sense the VA rep was trying to figure out who I was and what made me tick. Good luck with that quest! Anyway, we had a nice chat and I sincerely believe the rep has my best interest in mind — one day we will share a glass of wine. Why wine?

Have you ever had a wine “talk” to you? Obviously, the talking will not be a verbal exchange but rather an exchange that is based on taste, time of the day, your mood and what’s happening around you. But, the wine will “talk” to you and one of two things will occur as you sip it.

One, if your mind is racing too fast, you’ll throw down the wine without listening to it. In my estimation, that would be the extrovert in you. Most of us have done that but I like the second scenario.

The second thing that can happen is you will allow the wine to whisper in your ear and you’ll slowly sip the wine. That’s the introvert part of you interacting with the beverage.

Like a person, a wine has structure and complexity and if the wine is worthy, you’ll find it intriguing. No matter your psychological feeling at the time, you’ll pay attention to the wine and enter into a conversation with it.

That begs the question — what’s an extroverted wine and what’s an introverted wine?

An example of an extrovert type of wine is Bolla Valpolicello Ripasso — an excellent Italian wine from the Veneto region. This wine goes through a long multi fermentation process during which it rests on Amarone must (The Ripasso process…) for about three weeks. Then it’s aged in oak barrels for over 18 months. The resulting wine is robust, has great complexity and demands your attention. You will notice this wine!

Just last week I was having a chat with someone over a glass of Wente Cabernet Sauvignon. Our conversation was fulfilling and the wine was perfect for us. It’s a gentle wine with a full body, great cherry tastes and it has a wonderful soft tannin finish. It’s like the wine is speaking softly to you and because it tastes so darn good, you listen. A perfect introvert type of wine for us.

Veering out of the vineyard, I would be remiss not to remind us that St. Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us. It seems this is a day for people who exhibit any psychological trait — from a party goer to a stay at home party type of person. And what better way to celebrate the holiday then to hoist a pint of Guinness.

This classic stout has been made since around 1749 and it’s a natural for St. Patrick’s Day. Made by using roasted malted barley, the beer reveals both introverted and extroverted tastes – the beautiful creamy head invites the quiet you to sip and think about what you just tasted. The tang of the stout reminds you that it’s been around a long time and the reason is because it’s so darn good.

People possess layers of traits within their personalities and in the same way, our wines and other beverages have layers of tasty traits waiting for you to explore.

So, in the interest of saluting St. Patrick, don the green, gather your friends, sit down with a glass of your favorite beverage to talk and listen. You just might be surprised to hear what talks to you!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!