Interested in wine and don't know where to begin?
Don't worry. You are not alone. Many people would love to learn more about wine, but are either shy or have misconceptions that limit their ability to explore.
I was once that person. It took a few trips to my local wine store and some not so great suggestions, that lead me to begin my own wine adventure. Below, I have 5 suggestions to help you get started. Learning about wine and then becoming comfortable enough to dialogue with others about wine, takes some time. However, if you stay on your journey, the time invested will be worthwhile.
1. Start small.
You cannot expect to learn everything about wine in a day. There is so much to the subject of wine that it will take you a few years to develop a vast array of knowledge that you will feel comfortable sharing with individuals. Start with reading books or articles that interest you. If you find that you continue to thirst for more, then it may be time to take a class and see how far you want to go. Whatever you decide, pace yourself! Gathering knowledge takes time.
2. Don't hesitate to ask.
If I want to know something, I ask. It never hurts. Whether it's in the classroom or in the Total Wine aisles, I will always ask for help or assistance because it not only saves time, but I can pick the brain of an "expert" for guidance. If there is a sommelier or a Master of Wine that I like, I will send them an email and let them know what I am doing and ask for their help. The worst that can happen is they will say no or better yet, just not respond. But I can handle that, and it is not the end of the world. I just move on to the next person.
3. To know wine, is to taste wine.
There is only so much you can get out of text books or a class. You need to taste many different wines to become familiar with them and know what they have to offer. I used to taste wine here and there, but I found as I began writing about wine, I needed to be tasting wine. So I bought wine from different regions and I would taste them. I wanted to know the difference between a riesling from Germany and a riesling from Alsace France. Was it true Chardonnays from France could taste different from Chardonnays from California or even Australia?
Is it an expensive hobby? Yes! However, it is no different than the person who is into collecting Jordan's or the one that likes to buy Bottega Veneta purses. Actually...my wine hobby is cheaper than that purse, for sure.
4. Meet other enthusiasts like you!
Yes! They are out there! Don't be shy! Trust me, they are looking for you too! It is good to have other individuals to share ideas and information with. Many like to host mini wine tastings and similar events and these are opportunities to get to know people with similar interests. If you do a search for a local event and find one in your area, sign up. If there are none and you are comfortable with hosting one, go for it! Don't forget the power of ZOOM. You can also set up a meet up via ZOOM to connect with other like minded individuals and taste different wines or discuss them, weekly, monthly or however often you wish.
5. Take a class.
At the end of the day, depending on how far you want to take this hobby, you may be open to taking a class or two and there are so many wine schools out here. If you cannot find one near you, try online. One thing COVID-19 taught us, was a lot of what we accomplish in person, can be accomplished online as well. Whether you want to become a Master Sommelier or a Master of Wine, or you just want to increase your wine knowledge, there are classes for knowledge regarding specific types of wines or classes for that teach how to taste, and classes that will put on a full Level 1, Level II, Level III WSET Course. Try the American Wine Expert Online Course hosted by the Napa Valley Wine Academy.
6. Build your library!
There are several books and magazines on the market, great for consumers who want to learn more about wine. When I began my journey, I remember hearing so much about Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible. I cannot tell you how much her book helped. I still use her book to this day. I also subscribed to a few magazines I felt presented current trends in the wine industry, such as The Wine Enthusiast. There were others I picked up along the way, and others, I had to drop. Eventually, I found a few I regularly read.
If you need more information, do not hesitate to email us for assistance.
Cheers to your new journey!