With a mix of curiosity, amusement and befuddlement I read the news this past week that Dutch winemaker Ilja Gort has insured his nose with Lloyd’s of London for approximately 8 million dollars.
The stated rationale was that his nose is essential for him to produce top-quality wines at his Château de la Garde in Bordeaux. I suppose this is true and, should he somehow lose that all-important olfactory sense, his wines will deteriorate. But he’ll be a rich man!
However, one could also call Mr. Gort’s policy a perfect publicity move. (He sure got a lot of it!) I wonder what does an insurance policy like that cost and can you amortize it? Do you sell more wine with the publicity?
I’m a guy who also depends upon his sense of smell for a living (and for lots of pleasure). In my opinion, no amount of money would make it worth losing one’s sense of smell – especially for a true lover of wine. Certainly people do lose their sense of smell, and it is a terrible thing. I also imagine that the occurrence is, thankfully, uncommon.
I just hope people won’t so much find this guy’s nose – or anyone’s nose for that matter – to be any more important than their own. Instead, I hope that folks will just tap into their own sense of smell and realize how special this sense is and what joy it can bring.
As hunter-gatherers, the sense of smell was paramount and humans depended upon it for survival. Today in our high-stimuli society, we quickly learn to set our sense of smell aside and come to rely more heavily upon our eyes and ears. I would continue to encourage all to tap back into what their nose has to offer – and wine is the perfect way to do it. No other beverage offers such a kaleidoscope of information, and it can be so fun to explore. And it is easy to do - there is no need for wine-speak, six-dollar words or the like. Just stick your nose in there and enjoy all that you find. It is a gift that is given to humans and one that is there for us to enjoy.
Frank Ostini — Buellton, CA — March 31, 2008 9:54pm ET
Jimmy Hwang — Atlanta , GA — April 1, 2008 2:46pm ET
Mark Buzan — Carmel Valley, CA — April 2, 2008 2:26am ET
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