Wine Importing and Marketing Services

How Breast Cancer Changed My Relationship With Wine

Illustration by Monica Simon

September 17, 2021, Victoria’s Secret finally restocked their Body by Victoria Full Coverage bras. Waiting for my imaging tech to perform my annual mammogram, I ordered eight to replace my stretched-out, nearly decade-old collection. On the way home, I stopped at the wine shop to restock my favorite bottles, planning to host small gatherings, which had been absent for much of the last two years during the height of the pandemic.

October 9, 2021, I entered my doctor’s office expecting good news. Instead, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The following weeks were blurred with tests, oncologist visits and treatment plans. I sobbed in the shower. I smiled at well-meaning friends and family letting me know I would get past this. I gave away bottles of Gloria Ferrer Brut and Felino Malbec—wines I loved. Those brand-new bras in romantic pink lace, leopard and nude moved to the back of my underwear drawer, never to be worn again. Like so many things I lost with the diagnosis, underwire no longer had space in my daily wardrobe, and wine was no longer part of my diet.

I poured myself into figuring out how a food and wine writer (and human who loves a spicy glass of Tempranillo) moves forward when their oncologist limits alcohol intake to 0–1 glasses of wine per week. I couldn’t attend tastings. I no longer wanted to look at restaurant wine lists. Every glass would feed the hormone-positive beast raging in my chest.