Learn more about wine without publicly admitting you know nothing about wine

I, like many of you, enjoy a nice glass of wine at the end of a long day. I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon, but can be happy with a Malbec or a Pinot Noir. I know I also prefer screw tops over corks, and that’s as far as my wine knowledge takes me.

Occasionally I find myself wishing I knew more about wine, so I’ll attend a tasting at my local liquor store. But once I’m there, it’ll become even clearer to me that I know nothing about wine, so I’ll taste a few things, nod and smile at everyone, and quietly leave.

If you’d like to learn more about wine without being judged by your fellow wine tasters, here’s a couple ideas for getting started:

Host a Guided Wine Tasting

Ask your local liquor store if they have someone they could send to your home to run a private tasting just for you and your friends. If not, they may know someone they’d recommend. There are a lot of services that offer in-home wine tastings. An expert chooses the wines, brings the glasses, and runs a blind tasting so you can decide what you like best without the influence of price or how pretty the label is. For novices, it’s best to focus on one or two varietals, with no more than 6 wines in a tasting. After 6, you’re likely to forget which one(s) you liked best!

Start a Monthly Wine Get-Together

Grab a group of friends and arrange to get together once a month. Each month, pick a particular wine varietal and nominate one person to run the event. That person will procure the wines (your local liquor store can recommend 3 or 4 within a set price range), research the wines and vineyards, and guide that month’s tasting. Depending on the size of your group, you’ll only be on the hook to be the guide once or twice a year.

Download a Wine App

There are myriad apps out there that can keep track of wines you’ve tasted, give you more info on a particular vintage, and even recommend which wine to choose at any given restaurant! I’ve heard good things about Delectable, Vivino, and Hello Vino, but haven’t used them myself. Read the reviews before choosing an app that might work for you.

Keep a Wine Journal

Either in app form or a traditional pencil-and-paper version, a journal can help you remember which bottles you enjoyed and which you didn’t. In the old days, people would just cut the lables off bottles they loved and tape them into the journal on the appropriate page. Today, you could probably just Instagram it.

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