Unfolded Presents: See What I Taste by a Neurodivergent Sommelier

Neurodivergent is an umbrella term that describes people with variation in their mental functions. 

Some conditions include Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Synesthesia, amongst others. Neurodivergent individuals often experience variations in sensory processing amongst other things. 

I am one of those people and I am also a sommelier. 

When I was a kid, I remember flavors had a color and food textures expressed tactually in my mind. In my 30’s I learned there was a term for this: Synesthesia. To put it simply, my senses aren’t separated. I can “see” aromas and flavors. 

A normal wine tasting note reads: This wine has aromas of blueberry, black fruits, olive, smoked meat, and leather. It is full bodied with soft tannins and good acidity. 

Boring? To me it is.

Now imagine walking into a cavernous space that is half library and half kitchen. The brooding library is filled with dusty leather bound books & a high backed velour chair that is stained by squished blueberries. The kitchen is Parisian with a cracked stove to vent the brisket inside. A blackberry tart sits on a windowsill overlooking a bright field of olive trees. Same wine just from a Synesthete mind.


Words by Chelsea Young, a sommelier and wine educator in Atlanta, Georgia

Illustration by Grace Graves, an illustrator in Colorado


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Unfolded is about people who are passionate, who love to learn, who wonder about things, who see the world differently and have that special spark of something magical. I love finding the little freak thing that makes people special. This project gives them the space to put it on paper, to make it real, and to share it with the world.

What are you passionate about? What’s the weird thing that, when someone happens to mention it, you can go off for hours? Is it 1900s shipwrecks? Is it discovering new restaurants? Is it quantitative analysis of superior cheese dip? Is it pedestrian plazas? Is it the average air speed velocity of a laden swallow? Let me know.

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