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Friday, June 12, 2015

The Ten Steps to Learning About Wine

We all like to learn new stuff. Maybe we don't like to learn hard things like Calculus, but we're okay with learning fun things like a new dance, the latest gossip about a celebrity, or something really enjoyable like alcohol.

Learning about wine is not the sleigh ride you thought it might be. It's more of a roller coaster--it has ups and downs, can be scary, and might even make you sick!

Here we go with the ten step program, your journey learning about wine.

1. You really haven't given wine much thought. You've seen the bottles on the store shelf. It's really confusing and full of weird terms and even foreign languages! You were just on your way to the beer aisle for some PBR anyway.

2. Some of your friends are drinking wine and seem to enjoy it. You've tried wine in boxes and something called Yellow Tail. Hey, it wasn't bad. It still wasn't beer, but it wasn't too bad. It's time to venture into a store and buy your own. Here's goes nothing.

3. You've bought your first New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Luckily, Google will help you pronounce these things. Moving in to red wines now with a Shiraz. Hey, this is fun!

4. Just when it was becoming enjoyable words like tannin, malolactic, and brettanomyces start to show up. WTF, if I wanted to learn a foreign language I wouldn't have flunked out of French class.

5. There are now six bottles of wine in your house awaiting the proper time to use them. Wow, this is like aging wine! These bottles include one from France, from Germany, and a red(!) Zinfandel from a place in California called Lodi (low-dee?). Time to have someone over for dinner so you can show off.

6. You've moved the shoes out of the closet floor and use this for your wine collection as you are buying wine faster than you can drink it. You have just seen an issue of Wine Spectator. Unknown to you at this time things have taken a turn for the worse.

7. You have started reading the wine forums on the Internet, but have no idea what they're talking about. One thing you have gleaned from your readings is that it's time for a trip to Napa Valley. Little do you realize the thousands you will spend on travel, meals, tastings, and purchases in four days. It would have been much cheaper to go scuba diving in Aruba.

8. Wine is now officially your hobby. Definition of hobby is "something that absorbs your time and costs more than logic should dictate." Counting your bottles you find you have 300, some of which you don't know why or where you bought them.

9. You've now been to Sonoma, Paso Robles and even Amador in California. Other people are coming to you for advice on wine. Your self-doubt is growing as you really have only scratched the surface. There are too many wines from too many different regions all over the world. Hell, you haven't even tried an Albarino yet. You haven't been to Oregon yet. France is just a pipe dream.

10. Five years (or ten or fifteen if you're a slow learner) and thousands of dollars later you come to your senses. There are only three bottles of wine in the house now, you've taken your last trip to California, and you now have 50 bottles of sours and imperial stouts aging where your wine once was.

Sanity has returned!