A ten step program
1.Get out of your comfort zone: If your idea of wine comes from the Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast you are missing about 80% of the known wine world that does not get mentioned in these publications. It’s time to get a new perspective.
2.Avoid stereotypical wines: For starters, eliminate Chardonanny and Cabernet from your Lexicon for a while and seek out reds made from Tempranillo, Syrah, Grenache, and Barbera, and whites made from Viognier, Muscat, Riesling and Roussanne.
3.Think countries, rather than companies: There are several wine cultures out there that are strongly connected to the culture and history of the country. Some of them include France, Spain, and Italy with over 1000 years of wine history, and Argentina, American, and even locales like Texas that have 400 years of wine history.
4.Understand that the taste spectrum of wine is quite large: Some are floral, herbal, dry, semi-dry, sweet, some are fruity and some are more austere; and finally, some are simple and straightforward, while others are highly complex. In short, there are wines (actually many wines) out there for everyone.
5.Don’t be afraid of tasting: Many wine bars and even restaurants offer wines by the glass and even flights of wines where they serve you a short pour of three to five wines that can be tasted and compared. Use these settings as an opportunity to try new wines and learn.
6.Understand that there are wines that you won’t like: Due to the number of wines available, there are bound to be some wines that are just “not you”. Some may be poorly made, but with wine quality on a worldwide rise, it is more likely that you will find wines with aromas or flavors that are not to your liking. Regardless, don’t let this discourage you.
7.Seek the knowledge of others: There is so much to learn. Don’t let it intimidate you. However, there are resources that you can use. First, get on the Internet, search using words or combination of words that are unclear to you (this includes pronunciation of foreign words, as well). Also, when you go to a wine bar, restaurant or festival, ask questions from people that can help you.
8.Leave your wine snobbery behind. Good quality wine is now being produced in many new regions (countries, states, appellations and counties). Just because it is not from California or France it does not mean that it is necessarily inferior.
9.Enjoy yourself: This cannot be emphasized enough. Enjoy the moment, the people, the place, then enjoy the wine - they all go together. There is also one cardinal rule of wine enjoyment. Drink what you like and like what you drink.
10. Last, but not least…..Drink Local (www.drinklocalwine.com): Many small artesinal, micro-wineries are operating in states around the USA. For example, in Texas, we now have over 170 wineries that include one huge (Gallo-type) volume wine producer and six to eight large premium wineries. That leaves about 160 other wineries here in Texas. It is easy to find a winery using winery locator websites in your area such as this Texas site: http://www.gotexanwine.org/findwinesandwineries/. Don’t overlook these wineries just because they are not well known household names.