Wine & Design

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By: Aaron Webb

I was whining to my editor about writer’s block recently and was surprised that instead of offering advice or inspiration; she gave me another writing assignment. I asked why and she simply implored me to trust her.

Turning up to Il Fornaio, I was greeted by a wonderful chap called Andrew who bade me sit down and have a glass of bubbles. I ask him to enlighten me as to what I was covering. Wine & Design is a new program created specifically to unlock creativity in time poor professionals.

Being the CEO of a successful design firm for many years, Andrew Englisch found himself exhausted and feeling a bit stale. He went into design because he loved being creative, but in the process transformed himself into a businessman and stopped creating. He said: “I did enjoy being in business, but businesspeople have to think critically and objectively most of the time”.

“Spending time being creative breeds creativity. This has positive impacts in all areas of one’s life, and that’s what we’re trying to unlock in people with Wine & Design”.

My confusion at my editor’s choice of new assignment evaporates. I love it – 16 people, beautiful food, great wines with tasting notes, and a dozen or so short exercises in writing, sketching and photography. A frustrated artist’s dream!

The best bit is they’re not classes, per se. They offer a few tips in each category, but the real objective is simply to be creative. The output is not the point (though I am quite proud of a sketch I produced in two minutes), it’s about being in the moment, completely focused on creating, without engaging the ‘inner critic’. It engages areas of the brain that may be under-worked in our jobs, and there is evidence to suggest that it increases serotonin and dopamine levels.

And it’s also great fun! I had a couple of moments where I genuinely wanted to ditch the sketching pencils and start finger-painting. I felt like I was in kindergarten again – except with booze. Love it, love it, love it.

For the next Wine & Design night, visit They also have session vouchers available for purchase as Christmas presents. What do you buy a busy professional who has everything for Xmas? This.

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