Posted on April 14, 2018
You don’t have to be an expert on wine to know the basics. However, if it's a culinary learning experience to learn how to cook a chicken, here are the basics to knowing about wine.
Here are the top 7 places we’ve learned about wine.
1) Wine tasting on a tour
Taking a tour of the winery with your wine tasting is fascinating not because it’s like going through a coke factory but because you’ll learn about the art of making wine. It takes climate, knowledge, storage, technique and luck to make a great wine. A tour will help you learn the process while helping you understand that not all wines are alike because, believe it or not, we’ve heard this from people before. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who tells you all art is the same? Ya – it’s like that. All wines are not the same.
2) Watch wine movies.
Right now there is a growing interest in wine and with that comes a growing list of interesting documentaries on wine. Have a glass of wine while you are entertained and learn about wine at the same time.
- Movies – There are a few movies that have made wine as popular as it is including the pop-culture classic Sideways. You don’t have to like it but maybe you’ll get a glimpse of why people go crazy over pinots. It's what put Santa Ynez on the map. Another movie that could have been done better, in my opinion, is Bottle Shock but nonetheless, it’s a great American true story of why Napa has become amongst the elitist connoisseur's wine haven.
- Documentaries – Check them out. Somm, a movie about the extremely challenging and difficult process of becoming a sommelier, maybe much more difficult than becoming a famous actor in Hollywood, is amazing. It will certainly have an impact on how you allow the sommelier at a restaurant choose a wine for you.
- Foreign Films – A beautiful documentary on the process of art is A Year in Burgundy. This is a French film that interviews 7 winemakers and explains the craft…by season. It’s enchanting, mesmerizing and fun to watch. And if you’re into foreign films and cinematography, you’ll love it.
3) Ask your waiter.
If you don’t know what wine to drink, ask your server what pairs well with what you’re ordering. If he/she can’t answer that, they will gladly bring over someone more knowledgeable to assist at your table. (Did someone say sommelier?) Experiment your wine with your food, don't just drink it; although that's fine too.
4) Walk into a wine store.
Stop saying you'll go in there someday and just go for it. While you’re walking up and down the aisles, notice all the different regions where the wines are categorized like a library does for its genres. You may even find a tasting going on but if you ask the personnel, they'll be happy to find a wine that suits you. What makes visiting a wine store different than a grocery store is the ability to taste and ask personnel who are typically very knowledgeable. Heck, even Bevmo and Total Wine are great places to start discovering different wines. If you pick up a wine in a grocery store, choose at your own risk unless you’re familiar with it.
Google is great but if you only have a few minutes, maybe while you’re getting dressed for dinner, check Youtube. You’ll find videos like this one with Aneesh Bhasin who has this great little refresher video called Wine for dummies. He gives just some basics that might come in handy right before that fancy dinner.
6) Visit a wine bar.
These are popping up everywhere in all kinds of neighborhoods. We find these to have humble selections at great prices -- just perfect for getting your feet wet. We love the kind that you can pull up to a tap, press the button and sample all you like.
7) Take a trip.
Visit a wine region. Pick up a map and choose wineries on a road to visit and soak it all in…like a sponge. You don’t have to travel far either with wineries like this region just a couple of hours north from Los Angeles. There are now more wine regions in places you wouldn't expect to find. We even found one in near Norco, California. (Ya, haven't heard of Norco?) What wineries are nearby you?
Did I miss anything? Where was the best place you learned about wine?