For years I never thought I would be a wine drinker, I even had the opportunity to live in prestigious wine country on the California coast and never tried it. Years later I got a job selling the stuff and realized how much I was missing out on and really fell in love with it. Wine is rapidly ditching the old stigma of being for the snobby and elite and producing high-quality low-cost wine that everyone can enjoy. It can be scary trying something new and there are so many wines on the market now it’s hard to even know where to start. I’ve put together a small list of what I think can help you get started based on my experience in the wine industry and what I found doing some research. I hope this short list gets you motivated to try something new, so check it out and I would love to hear from you in the comment section down below. Cheers!
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Expand your knowledge
Spend some time to research and read about all the different varietals and styles, this is a great way to see what you might like and want to try. This might not be for everybody since there is so much information out there, so some of the other suggestions down below might work better for you. If you are somebody who likes to research and gather information, try the wine bible or wine for dummies book for some great info. A simple google search will also help get you started.
Don’t be intimidated to find some wine shops near you and check them out. Your local grocery store is going to have plenty of options to choose from, but a wine shop is going to have knowledgeable employees who can help educate you and pick out the right wine for you.
Go wine tasting
If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with local vineyards go check them out! It’s an awesome way to try many different wines and a great atmosphere. Most will offer flights, allowing you to try a small sample of many different styles. Also, look for wine tastings at wine shops or stores in your area, they are free and another great way to figure out what you like.
Wine parties are a cool way to try new wines and spend time with your friends or family. Have everyone bring a different bottle and try them together. Make it more entertaining by adding snack trays with gourmet meats, cheeses and crackers. Take notes of what you like and pictures of the bottles you tried for future reference.
The myth that you must spend a fortune to drink good wine is not true. There are plenty of good wines in the $8-$15-dollar range and if you want to go cheaper that’s fine too. I would guess most people start cheap, I know I did, 2 buck chuck Chardonnay was my first wine experience. Committing too much money to something you’re just acquiring a taste for doesn’t make a lot of since. Don’t be afraid of box wine either, many boxed wines like Black Box or Bota Box are decent quality and a great bang for your buck, Black Box Cabernet is always in our house. Another plus to box wine is it lasts a long time since the wine isn’t exposed to air when you open it, so if you drink only a glass a night you don’t have to worry about it going bad. The only real downfall to going the box route is that if you don’t like it your stuck with about 4 bottles of wine, so before you buy it make sure it’s something you like.
Read the labels
Many of the wines you’ll be choosing from tell about the wine characteristics on the label, I don’t think a lot of beginners realize this. Check out the back of the bottle and see if it’s something that sounds good. Look for shelf talkers by the bottles too, these will also tell you about the wine and are a great tool for deciding on what to buy.
There are plenty of free apps you can get on your phone to help you select the perfect wine for you. Most will allow you to just snap a picture of the label and you’ll instantly get all kinds of info about the wine including ratings and reviews. Vivino and Wine-Searcher are two of the more popular ones and there are countless others. It’s a great tool to use when shopping so check some out.
I hope some or all these suggestions help you start on your journey to find the right wine for you. If you have any questions I would love to hear them, and I also look forward to hearing what you find out there! Cheers!