This tip was shared with me by one of my old winemaker friends. I dont remember exactly who it was, but it was one of 2, and I dont want to name one and get it wrong, so I wont name either of them.
He told me that there is one thing that everybody, even non wine drinkers, absolutely must know about wine. Without knowing this one thing, there is no point knowing anything else.
If you know this one thing, then there is no need to know anything else – all other knowledge of wine is merely an add-on to this one thing.
Before I get into it, I’d like to point out that this is the one thing that the amateur wine drinker needs to know. That is, the everyday man in the street, like most of us. Of course, if you are a professional
drinker taster, a wine maker, wine critic or similar, then of course you need more knowledge than just this one thing. But for the average punter, who simply wants to enjoy a glass or 3 of wine without getting caught up in all the carry on about regions, vintages, storage conditions, etc, then knowing this one thing will be enough to guarantee that enjoyment. In fact, without knowing this, you may as well not even bother.
So, “what is this one thing that I absolutely must know about wine?”, you ask.
It is this: you have to know what you like.
If you dont know that, then there is no point knowing all about wine growing, regional styles, etc. It’s all a waste if you do not know what wines you like to drink.
So, how do you find out what you like?
A good question, but luckily the answer is simple: try a lot of different wine and see how you react. I recognise 3 basic reactions to wine:
- Refill. This is a wine that you like, so remeber what it is ( variety, region and brand ), refill your glass and enjoy.
- Swallow. This is a wine that you will drink if someone put one in front of you, but given the option you’d rather have one from the above category. Again, remember what it is, this list makes a handy backup list for when you are stuck in the mulga and faced with a limted wine list at dinner time.
- Spit ( physically, or of you are too polite, gag and swallow but really want to spit it out ). These are the wines that you dont like. Remember these too, so that you can avoid them in the future.
And another tip – keep trying wines, even those that you dont like. You may find that over time, your palate changes, so wines that you used to like, you will go off, and those that you did not like, you will come to appreciate more. If you don’t want to spend your hard earned on a wine that you normally don’t like, then take advantage of the free tastings offered at the wineries, wine shows, and sometimes at bottle shops.
And there you have it: the one thing that you absolutely must know about wine, and how to learn it.