As we mentioned before, a couple of us ventured out to the Vancouver International Wine Festival in March to try our hand at tasting. Wine events are a great way to sample a host of different options, ask questions, learn what you like and taste wines that aren’t readily available in your local liquor store. While we will continue to cover any wine and drinks related events that come to town, we also want to explore home tasting, as it’s something anyone can try.
Hosting a tasting party is a great idea – for a bridal shower, supper club, or even on a Thursday night, and there are many companies that will host parties for you, or even send a sommelier to your house to guide you through the tasting. Another option is to join a tasting group, check out Upcoming.org for one in your city, or make wine tasting a regular affair and order a mixed case of wine from your local specialty shop.
Eric Asimov of the New York Times wine blog The Pour suggests that tasting wine at home regularly and making notes on what you are drinking is a great way to democratize wine, allowing you to learn while you taste.
Too often, we treat wine as something that can only be understood and enjoyed by connoisseurs, and therefore enjoyment of wine has to be preceded by a knowledge and understanding of wine. This partly accounts for the reason that people feel they must apologize for knowing little about wine, in a way that they would never feel about most other subjects, whether poetry, art, baseball or bread baking. In most areas of life, people feel free to dip in and experiment. If they find pleasure and they have time, then they pursue further knowledge. Why not wine?
I agree, the best way to learn about wine is to try new things, and not feel embarrassed about asking questions. Going to a wine store and asking for a recommendation may end up leading you to a new favourite and keeping your eye on wine blogs like Asimov’s will also give you a new idea about what to try.