Have you ever felt intimidated by the culture of wine, wine drinking, and wine production? Have you ever felt that there was just so much to learn that you couldn't possibly know were to start, much less learn enough to be useful, so why even bother?
Well, you're not alone in this. Lots of people have enjoyed wine enough to want to know more, but have also been so intimidated by wine that they were afraid to start — but you don't need to feel intimidated. It's not hard to learn enough to expand your horizons.
You Are Not Alone
Perhaps the first and most important thing to help you get over feeling intimidated when it comes to wine is to simply remember that you are not alone. For one thing, there are lots and lots of people out there who enjoy drinking wine and who know as little or less about wine as you. It's not necessary to be a wine expert to enjoy wine, nor is it necessary to be a wine expert to learn more about wine.
Speaking of wine experts, it's also important to keep firmly in mind that none of them were born with an encyclopedic knowledge about wines and grapes. Some of them didn't even start seriously learning about wine until much later in life. All of them did start learning somewhere, though, just as you have to. If a person can start from nothing and become a certified expert, you can as well — or just become very knowledgeable, if that's what you want.
Everything is Complicated
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when looking at the world of wine because of how complex it all is, but it might help to remember that everything in life can be complicated. The complexities of wine might be a little greater than other subjects at times, but that doesn't mean they are simple. If you can navigate other complex worlds, you can surely navigate some of the complexities of the world of wine.
Coffee seems like a relatively simple drink, but there is still a lot of complexity in the background: was it grown in Columbia or Hawaii? Is it French Roast? Do you want a cappuccino or an espresso? Steak is complicated: do you want a filet or a T-bone? Is the beef grass fed? Do you want it cooked medium rare or well done?
If you can navigate these choices, you can decide whether to have French or California wine, a Merlot or a Pinot Noir, etc. If you can learn enough about coffee and steak to better enjoy the experience, you can do the same with wines. You just need to devote a little time and attention to it.
Wine Expertise is Not Required
Finally and most importantly, you must remember that you don't need to become an expert in order to learn a lot more than you do now. Indeed, even the wine experts aren't as much of an expert as you may assume. Every year is a new vintage for every vineyard, which means they have to relearn a great deal in order to make decisions about the wines that become available. You're never "done" when it comes to learning about wine.
So if you set aside the idea that you have to become an expert, you'll need to decide what you're shooting for. Do you just want to become broadly knowledgeable so you can make solid decisions about wines you drink? Do you want to learn a lot about German or Italian wines — perhaps as part of a deeper knowledge about their culture and history? Think about this because where you want to go will determine to a large extent what route you take.