Norton Safeweb

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The budget wine education

How can you learn about wine and not spend a fortune buying a variety of expensive bottles to see what you like?   This doesn't mean it won't eventually get expensive because if you really get into wine, well, it's a hobby,and all hobbies are expensive by definition (it's not just old cars, rare coins, and model airplanes).

Two things will help control the costs while you're learning:  Reading and sampling off someone else's bottles.

Educate yourself about wine

Read up on various wines, what they taste like, and what kinds of foods go with them.

There's lots of info online including wine forums.  There are lots of books. There are several wine magazines.

Do you know any wine geeks?  Pick their brain not so much about what they like buy why they like certain varieties, styles, or wineries. In the end it's about what you like, not your wine drinking buddy or some wine writer. It's your money so buy what you like and pay what you think is reasonable for a bottle.

Tasting Wines

You can try many different wines by going to a wine appreciation class, joining a wine tasting group, going to wine bars, or wineries.

Wine classes - Community colleges or maybe a local wine shop may put on wine tasting classes.

Wine tasting groups - This is just a bunch of amateurs like yourself who want to learn about wine.  Maybe you can organize a few people at work who would like to explore wines also. This way you share the costs.

Wine bars - You can try glasses of wines without buying a whole bottle. They may also sell a flight--a smaller sampling of several different wines. Some wine retail shops put on wine tastings. Restaurants serving wine by the glass gives you a great opportunity to experiment with pairing wine with food.

Wineries - Nothing like a trip to the wine country to really get immersed in wine. This is your chance to try wines from places so small you've never heard of their wine and to sample different wines.

Keep yourself open to wines.  Just because you had a bad experience with one Cabernet shouldn't mean you don't like dry red wine. Don't go to a wine tasting thinking, "I don't like Chardonnay" when it's a chance to experiment for little or no cost to you. Wines come in different styles so if you've decided you don't like oaky Chardonnay doesn't necessarily mean you don't like Chardonnay at all, but just when it's in that style.

If price is an issue (and it probably is unless you're in the 1%) then try some other varietals besides Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon as these tend to be the most expensive.