How to Be a Failure (Part W)

Wine, women and wrong

Annie Trevaskis
3 min readApr 15, 2023


A neon sign spelling out “People fail forwards to success”
Photo by Ian Kim on Unsplash

I want to encourage everyone to fail more regularly. Success is safe, but it isn’t hard, and it isn’t a challenge — it doesn’t show you where your limits are or give you any idea of your true potential. You need to attempt difficult things, things you might fail at. Learn to step outside your comfort zone and stretch yourself: strive to fail, learn, and grow.

Join me in this episode of my A-Z of Failures and be inspired.


You can learn a lot from wine failures, most of which will improve your ability to handle embarrassment. It’s a funny thing, embarrassment. If you feel embarrassed, it is catching; others will feel it too. Embarrassment is a choice; if you learn to let go of it, everyone will laugh with you.

Take the time I was on a roundabout in Budapest. There was wine, a bunch of women on a hen weekend, and me, about to do something wrong. We had settled there, on the only free piece of ground we could find with a view of the fireworks. I needed to pee, but there were no loos, so I shuffled backwards into the hedge in the middle of the roundabout until I felt I had enough privacy and let gush. There was a lot of shouting and laughter, so my friend went round to the other side of the hedge to see what all the fuss was about. There I was, apparently, with my bare arse hanging out of the back of the shrub and peeing within inches of someone else’s picnic blanket. How we laughed.

A photo of a bottle of wine viewed from above. The bottom is blurred, but the top is in clear focus
Photo by George Becker: on

It takes someone skilled in failure to manage what I did a few years later. I managed to fail at fake wine. I had given up alcohol but had been invited to a wedding and wanted to blend in. The de-alcoholised bottle looked just like an ordinary bottle of wine, and I drank the entire thing. I felt pretty smug, knowing everyone else would probably feel rough the next day, whereas I would be all bright and bushy-tailed.

How do you make God laugh? Talk about your future plans.

I woke up the next day with the worst hangover of my life. I learnt three things from…



Annie Trevaskis

I came, I wrote, I conquered. That last bit might not be true, but at least I am putting up a good fight.