Getting Started with Wine Hot

Getting Started with Wine
Wine Tasting
Photo © syvwlch

Everyone has to start somewhere to learn more about wine. You've probably already been drinking wine, but there is a difference between casual wine consumption and an organized, intentional effort to learn about what wine is, how wines taste, and when wines are best drunk. You can continue drinking wines in a casual manner, enjoying them for what they are in the moment, or you can add to your knowledge of wine and thereby expand how you enjoy wine. Knowledge is not only power, but also pleasure.

Find some Good Wine Books

There is no substitute for good, old-fashioned research. It may have been a few years since you had to do book research in school or college, but it's worth brushing up on your research skills. There are a lot of good books out there — books that explain the basics and books that explain some complex subjects for experts. If you really want to learn more about wine, you just can't avoid getting some basic reading materials — and there are new ones published every year. Some books are expensive, but most should be available at your local library.

Another good source of information are wine magazines. One advantage which wine magazines have over most wine books is the fact that they can present the latest information — reviews of the newest wines and newest wine products. The latest wine books are inevitably a year or two behind, but they may also present a more considered viewpoint as well. Wine magazines also teach you the language of wine culture — the words, phrases, and concepts which people use to describe and discuss wine. The more you know about how to describe wine, the better you'll be able to express your impressions and feelings.

Find a Wine Buddy or Wine Guide

A person who knows more than you about wine and who is willing to help you expand your horizons can be invaluable. If you wanted to go hiking in an unfamiliar region, wouldn't you want both a map and a good guide who knows the area? If you wanted to just travel as a tourist in a new country, wouldn't you like to go there with a person who was familiar with the land and perhaps speaks the language, not just map printed up for foreign tourists?

Books are great, but while a book may have more information than a person you can't put questions to a book. Not only can you ask a person questions, but you can sit and taste wine with them. Shopping for and tasting wine with another person — even if they only know a little more than you — allows you to compare your impressions with theirs. They can help you come to pinpoint which sensations are fruity rather than sweet, acid rather than tanning, and so forth.

Drink Wine Regularly

There aren't many contexts where you would be advised to drink more alcohol more often rather than less, but this is one of them. You can't learn about wine solely from reading books, reading magazines, and talking to wine experts. Learning about wine requires that you actually drink wine — and given how many different sorts of wine are out there, you'll learn more by drinking more different sorts of wines.

You don't have to drink entire bottles of wine, fortunately, because there are a variety of situations where you can taste wine in smaller amounts. Most wineries offer wine tastings of their products, at least during certain times of the year. Some wine merchants offer wine tastings of the wines they sell. You can also be proactive by organizing your own wine tasting parties, though it might be easier to do so with someone else — especially with someone more experienced than you.

Treat Yourself — Try a Good Wine

You don't need to spend a fortune on wines in order to learn more about them, though it may start adding up to a lot before too long. It isn't a good idea to spend all of your money just on inexpensive wines because quantity isn't always better than quality. You of course want a broad experience with lots of different wines, but that doesn't do you as much good if you don't have experience with really good, high quality wines.

You don't need to buy an expensive wine every week, but you should try to buy a better wine a couple of times each year. It's a good idea to try a wine that representative of a varietal or style that you already know you like. It's an even better idea to try this wine side-by-side against a less expensive bottle that you have had before and enjoyed.

The more experience you have with high quality wines, the better you'll be able to evaluate less expensive versions of the same sorts of wines. What's more, experience with high quality wines will help you get to know growing regions, styles, and varieties much better than inexpensive wines, thus helping you learn which ones you like the most and want to drink more often.

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Wine 101: Getting Started

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