As a wine expert I always say "wine is not to fear or revere, simply enjoy." Granted, there are different types and styles of wine, myriad producers of wine from many countries, and countless bottles on store shelves so it can be overwhelming to choose. The beautiful thing is that learning about wine, however, is fun. And bargains abound so it doesn't cost a fortune to sip, swirl and savor. These quick tips will turn you into a wine pro in no time.
Buy and try: The No. 1 way to learn about wine is taste, taste, taste. Go to wine tastings, visit local wineries, and host wine parties with friends.
Host a wine tasting party: Whether it's a one-time event or a monthly gathering, getting friends together to learn about wine is the most entertaining way to educate yourself. Pick a theme for your wine tasting, for example, chardonnay around the world. Have everyone bring a bottle from a different country or region along with information about the wine. Put out notepads, dump buckets (in case people want to empty their glass to try new wines) and enjoy.
Pairing perfection: Wine belongs on the table with food so not only put out various foods to try when you have a wine party, make a habit of exploring various matches during weekend (or weekday) dinner. There are no right or wrong ways to pair wine with food, only your way. Keep in mind to match the textures of food and wine; heavy and rich dishes with fuller bodied wines and lighter more delicate fare with elegant wines.
Make retail friends: Get to know your local wine retailer. If you find a store you like, attend their tastings and events. Get to know a salesperson and tell them what you like to drink. They'll be your guide to selecting wines and widening your wine horizons. Good stores will also give discounts when you buy. A case of wine (12 bottles) usually warrants a discount of 10 to 15 percent if not more.
Step out when sipping: Make sure to step beyond your comfort zone when it comes to wine. Don't continue to buy the same producer and type of wine again and again. Seek out new and different countries. New Zealand, Argentina and Portugal are some of my favorites for wine discoveries.
Have you discovered a wine that you love? Share it with us!
UPDATE: Want to attend the New York Wine Expo?Get $15 off! Once you click on how many tickets you want, scroll down and you’ll see a button that says “enter discount code.” Enter the promo code TODAY.
For those who want to learn more about wine Leslie Sbrocco will be speaking at the New York Wine Expo on February 25-26, 2011. Her classes, Wine 101 and Tasting Like a Pro, will make you wine savvy in no time. You can also visit www.ThirstyGirl.com