Want to learn more about wine in the New Year but don’t know where to start? Forget about diets, exercise, and all of the other generic resolutions. Get your drink on, educationally, of course. We’ve compiled a list of seven different ways to broaden your wine knowledge this upcoming year that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Grab a friend, grab a bottle, and get to work!
Find a Local Wine Class
Many neighborhood wine shops have some form of wine classes, weekly tastings, or in-store events that you might not know about. Start by heading to your local wine store and asking about upcoming classes or events. You never know what might be going on just around the corner from you!
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Visit a Winery
Add a little knowledge to your next vacation by paying a visit to a local winery. No, you don’t need to be in Europe or California to do so. Wineries are popping up all over America; with states like Michigan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania producing wine, there’s most likely a winery within driving distance of your next trip. For an even more in-depth experience, look further than just the tasting room and book a tour.
Start a Tasting Journal
Documenting what you taste goes a long way. Whether it’s in an Excel sheet, Google doc, or good old pen and paper in a notebook, start writing down bottles you taste, whether at home or out; not only will this help you remember what you’ve actually tasted, but it’ll get you in the habit of identifying what it is that you’re tasting. Rather than just noting down the bottle names, start with adding a few descriptive words next to each bottle — positive or negative — to help you better understand your palate. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next Robert Parker.
Create a Wine Blog
Following up on that tasting journal, why not create a wine blog to better document your tasting experiences? Wine descriptions will quickly evolve from scribbled words and brief notes into actual stories about your experiences with wine. Better yet, you’ll be joining a community of other wine bloggers to share experiences and notes with.
Start a Tasting Group
Do you have a few friends also interested in learning about wine? There’s no better way than to learn together; it’s both economical and fun. Set a specific day and time during the week to meet, alternating who hosts. Each person brings a bottle that they’ve studied up on in advance, then tastes with the group. Hearing the thoughts and perspectives of your friends will help the way you articulate your wine thoughts.
Commit to 1-2 Bottles per Week
Whether a tasting group is possible or not, commit to trying one or two different wines every week, whether it’s while out to dinner on Friday night with your spouse or at #WineBarWednesday with friends. Commit to trying a different varietal or region every week to quickly expand your knowledge. There’s plenty of affordable wine that will expand your horizons, one bottle at a time.
WSET or CSW
This one actually is a bit of a splurge. For those of you who really want to learn about wine this year, check out WSET or CSW courses available nationwide. Both certifications are highly regarded in the wine world and cater to your particular lifestyle. WSET classes are held weekly in groups, while CSW is a more independent, self-taught study.
And of course, and this one is FREE, if you really want to learn more about wine this year, read more VinePair! Happy drinking, and cheers to learning more about wine in 2017!