My passion for wine and for my grandson took flight at the same time. This was purely coincidental. On August 10, 2011, I clipped an article from the Houston Chronicle about the Texas Wine School. As a wine aficionado, I was eager to expand my knowledge, so I immediately put the article in my "to do" file. Three days later, on August 12, my first Grandson, James Robbins Howard, was born in Los Angeles. I spent the next several weeks being charmed and disarmed by this precious little bundle, and wondering how this new “grandmother” identity would figure into my life. Fast forward three months. While I became acquainted with James via Skype - two thousand miles away- I enrolled in the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level I class at the Texas Wine School. I was immediately captivated, just as I’d been with James. But now I had a new James in my life: James King, my instructor and mentor. I was so excited about these classes that I enrolled in Level II and, having passed that exam (with distinction, no less) I signed up for Level III. The Level III class involved eight consecutive Saturdays – from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – of sipping, spitting, slurping and yes, sometimes swallowing. Weeknights were spent at home poring over books (and pouring wine) learning about viticulture, vinification, and the many wine regions of the world, and discovering how to distinguish a Burgundian Pinot Noir from one in New Zealand or Oregon or California. Once I passed the Level III exam, I studied for one more certification: the Society of Wine Educators Certified Wine Specialist. I am proud to say that I can put "CSW" after my name on my wine-writing business card. So, here I am today, preparing to enter a new decade of life with two passions that have enriched my world beyond words. I invite you to travel along the wine trail with me, where adventure, friendships, and love of the grape come together to forge unlikely connections and unique experiences. Along the way, we will discover what being a grandmother means to today’s woman, who would much rather embrace life to its fullest instead of calling it a day and retiring to a rocking chair. Cheers!