Four Steps To Learning Wine

I’m not going to lie, I know nothing about wine. I drink a glass on occasion. I drink beer, cheap beer at that. Miller Lites and more recently Miller 64. Yep, I’m that guy. For a casual cold beer I enjoy lightly-flavored (read watery) bubbly.[powerpress]

The truth is sad. The cold, hard truth is sad. I live with a woman who loves wine. Studies wine and she knows her shit to boot. Mikey can pick out an $8.00 bottle that goes great with our dinner and then the next week find an amazing $40.00 bottle that is super amazing.

I, on the other hand, got kicked out of my wine class at The Culinary Institute of America for challenging the instructor on how I wanted to taste and describe wine.


The Dummies series actually has some great pointers.

The Dummies series actually has some great pointersSo what does this mean for me? I better get my act together and learn the basics.

I am not going to tackle this giant subject all at once, but I am going to share a few beginning pointers:

  1. Find someone who knows a lot and is willing to share. I lucked out and live with a highly-educated and enthusiastic wine woman. The good news here is she is not pretentious about wine at all. If you can’t land yourself a smokin’ hot woman with encyclopedic wine brains, I suggest hit your local wine store. While you’re there ask a lot of questions. If the wine guy/girl is put off by questions, or is snobby, RUN. Run like the wind (to be free again). Learning about wine should be fun.
  2. Taste some wines. Take every opportunity you can to taste wine. Don’t go out and chug some jug wine. Every city and locality has wine tastings going on. Google that sh*t, or go to A really great way to get some hot wine on wine action is to be brave at your friends dinner parties. Step out of the box, put down the jello shots and taste a few bottles that are open.
  3. Take Notes. I know this may seem a little too basic, but it’s true. There are a bunch of smart phone apps that will help you track it. For me, I use my iPhones camera and Evernote. Take a few minutes when you do taste something you like and figure out why. I take a picture of the label and write down a few notes on the flavors I am experiencing.
  4. Don’t worry about traditional flavor labels. Who wants to know about barnyard, fresh hay or old socks. If you taste jolly rancher candy or cherry or even juicy fruit, write that down. Be proud of your vocabulary. Chances are more people will relate to what you are describing than you think. Not to mention it is a good jumping-off point for conversation.

Another fun resource is Gary Vaynerchuck at Wine Library TV

Gary is celebrating his 1000th episode of Wine Library TV!


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Chef | Culinary Producer & Educator

Host of The Food Craftsmen.
Brother to two awesome people & son to amazing parents (love you guys). I live in St. Clair Shores, MI with my wonderful fiancé and our three Weiner dogs.

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