If you’re just getting into wine drinking, then you have come to the right place! Welcome one and all to my quick guide to wine drinking. I am a blackbelt in wine drinking. Wine is the Bonnie to my Clyde, the To to my Mato, and the way I used to pass the time before marriage, 2 dogs and a baby. You could say that I am an expert. I still love wine, I am just a non-practising aficionado for now. Here are 10 tips to ease you into this wonderful world.
Grapes are, as you can imagine, a very integral part of winemaking. Don’t be fooled though, the grapes they make wine out of are not the supermarket standard variety. Wine grapes are smaller, sweeter and have thicker skins. There are over 1000 varieties of wine grapes around but only about 100 of them are widely used in wine production. See? I told you I am an expert.
2. Wine Glasses
You will want to invest in decent stemware to serve your wine unless it’s a Friday evening and you’re alone in front of the T.V with a box of cereal. The wine glasses you choose will influence the taste of the wine you drink, opt for the glasses with thinner rims. Yes, they are a pain to hand wash, but they really do make the wine taste better.
3. Wine Storage
Never store your wine on top of the fridge, that is a rookie mistake! The heat and vibrations from the fridge will wreak havoc on your wine. If you can, add a small (or large) wine rack to the corner of a room where there is no direct sunlight. There are rules for storing your wine properly for a reason.
4. House Wines
Keep house wines on hand for last-minute dinner arrangements with friends. Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile white wine to always have in the house and a fruity merlot is a food-friendly red option. House wines should never be expensive, save the pricier wines for fancy occasions. Don’t be afraid to mix in some divine cocktails to the mix in the beginning – wine is an acquired taste and there is no shame in subbing it out with something else until you find your favourite drinking wine.
5. Join the Club
Or start one. Wine clubs are a great way to learn all about different wines and make great friends in the process. Take turns hosting wine evenings in your neighbourhood and ask everyone to bring their favourite bottle along. Remember to sip, swish and spit until you find something you like, otherwise, you will need someone to put you to bed at around 8 pm.
6. Serving Temperatures
Do research on the proper serving temperature for your wine of choice. As a general rule of thumb, red wines are served at room temperature and white wines are served chilled. You don’t need to know absolutely everything there is to know about wines right now, but much like beef connoisseurs know the difference between purebred vs full-blood wagyu beef, with the time you too will know the difference between Cabernet Franc and Carménère grapes.
7. Go on Tour
Wine tours are an excellent starting point for newbie wine drinkers. Wine vineyards tend to cluster together so it’s easy to go from one to the next and sample all the delicious flavours. Don’t forget the three S’s from point number 5 though so you can still walk later – Sip, Swish, Spit.
8. Wine Apps
It’s 2020 and there is basically an app for everything, including wine. There are plenty of wine apps that offer valuable information on wine – like how to store it, how much to pour and, on some of them, you can even order your wine online. Oh, how we love the interwebs!
9. Get Friendly with Your Local
Build a relationship with your local liquor store owner, you can use their expertise to your advantage. Find out about the different types of wine they have on offer, and ask them about their favourites. They may even crack open a bottle for you to try and you may end up making a new friend in the process.
10. Keep Experimenting
Even once you have found your favourite type of wine, never stop trying new wines. It is great that you have a favourite but keeps your mind, and mouth, open to exploring new tastes and novel combinations of flavours. Sticking to the same type repeatedly can get boring over time, so keep your options open for a fuller wine experience.