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Pretension is Optional: What Wine and Writing Have In Common

We were in a cave. They call it a wine cellar, but it was a cave. Parts of it were charming and other parts were super creepy and you could tell that if the walls could talk they’d have had stories because they looked like they’d seen some shit since 1422.

The thing I remember most was insecurity.

I felt insecure because I really wanted to seem smart and knowledgeable and snooty. I wanted people to think, “Ah, yes, she knows all the things! Look at her refined palate!” Which I understood to mean “has the right words to say the right things to impress the right people.”

This is not a palate.

A palate is something we all have because we’re human beings with tongues who can taste things. Learning to tune into the experience of taste (which is also smell, and ambiance and so many other things) demands NO pretension. Pretension is optional.

And yet we keep choosing it because people, like me in that wine cellar, are very insecure. And often we’re chasing the things we didn’t get as children in places where we’re supposed to show up as adults.

Adults with refined palates, don’t talk down to people. That’s always your first red flag. Someone starts mansplaining stuff to you, you run. That’s their stuff to work out with their therapist. Not the bar for how you should behave.

But I didn’t know that then. I was immature and insecure and I wanted those snooty people’s approval SO BADLY. I was consumed with getting things “right” instead of actually freaking enjoying the experience of wine tasting.

This obsession with “getting it right” is what leads us to miss the point of wine entirely and (drum roll please) is also why we struggle to write.

When I first learned to copywrite I was seduced by shiny tactical solutions and false promises: Become a 6-Figure copywriter and never work a day in your life! Write words that get people BEGGING to give you their money. The 9 words that will guarantee people reply to your emails.

I’m never going to be able to stop sleazeballs from writing lazy, manipulative content on the internet. What I can do is help you see through the bullshit. Make YOU smart enough to see that when it seems too good to be true it’s because it is.

When I was in that wine cellar 15 years ago, I missed the point. I was distracted by this couple who kept dropping names of varietals and years as if I was supposed to know them. “Ah, yes, of course, 1993 was a bad year for pinots, but only in the northern part of Napa, the rest wasn’t affected – you know why? It was the great rains of Fall ’92….”

These guys didn’t know shit about wine, but I couldn’t tell the difference because they sounded like they did.

For wine, when you become obsessed with dates and brand names, you’re missing the point. Likewise with copywriting, when you become obsessed with the latest hack, tactic, or tool that will unlock the Key To Conversion, you’re missing the point.

Too many of us spend our lives missing the point.

Which is why I’m having a wine + writing party with Elizabeth Schneider tonight at 8PM EST live on Instagram

Elizabeth is the bestselling author of Wine for Normal People. She will kill me for telling you she’s a sommelier because that’s snooty, so we’ll go with what’s on her Twitter bio: certified wine dork. She’s made a profession out of making wine, and a passion for it, accessible to anyone and the people have noticed (Forbes, Oprah, Martha Stewart Living, Wine Enthusiast are only a few of the bajillion places that suggest you read her book or take her classes). She’s a business owner + podcast host who’s on TV all the time, but mostly she’s my friend.

Elizabeth and I will be live on Instagram tonight at 8PM EST/5 PM PST to chat about wine and writing. We’ll be drinking a Bordeaux and I’ll be doing my best impression of being as snooty as possible. KIDDING – the opposite – we’ll be chatting about how wine and writing aren’t just for people who know words like terroir and aeration or market sophistication levels or CPL. How hyper-focusing on all that misses the point.

Go grab a Bordeaux and come hang out with us.

It’s free. It’s live. And if you join, we’ll answer all your questions about wine and copywriting.

If you click here, I’ll send you an email 10 mins before we go live to remind you to open Insta and come hang out.

Pretension, snootiness, making other people feel less than – these are all things we can choose to opt-out of. So choose to opt-out.

Someone who actually knows more than you and knows better, would never make you feel like garbage. A palate, like a blank page, should not be intimidating but FUN.

Let’s go reconnect to that fun.

Come drink with us!


If you follow me on instagram, all you have to do is open the app at 8PM EST and it should show up at the top of your feed next to all the stories. Hit the circle that shows my face and says “live” and you’ll be in the room with us.

See you there.

Le chaim 🍷✍🏻,


PS: Yes, yes, The Copy Workshop is still open for enrollment. If you want to join some non-pretentious awesome people for our January 24th session – sign up today. The discount I was telling you about last week expires TOMORROW. So if the Copy Workshop is something you’ve been wanting to do, use this link and click the purple circle 🟣 to unlock the discount. The regular price for enrollment is $1200. It’s currently being offered at $800 because (this is the big news) Akimbo is getting RID of discounts. So after this round, it’s $1,200 in perpetuity and might go up from there.

Click here to enroll in The Copy Workshop.

And come ask me any questions you have live tonight at 8PM EST on Instagram with my friend and bestselling author Elizabeth Schnieder.