Diaries Magazine

How Do “I” Start Drinking Wine?

Posted on the 19 February 2014 by Jamie Gall @50states50wines

Over the weekend I talked to a new wine lover who was just beginning her start into the wine world and she asked me, “How do you begin searching for wine?”

A simple question, really.  But before I begin with answering that I want to share my story of where my love of wine came from.  In Minnesota I wasn’t a die hard wine lover like I have become since moving to California.  Really though, I’d try a few wines, didn’t really like them so I had the conclusion, for a bit, that I didn’t even like wine.  Yes folks.  That’s how it begins.   One sip of wine can determine whether or not you like wine for the rest of your life.  Choose carefully.  ;)

WineBut then I moved to California, and one look in the grocery store.  Yes, back in Minnesota, we did not carry wine in our grocery stores because of a law instated saying we could only sell 3.5 alcohol.  Wine, is well over that.  So I was in love with the wine selection out there.  And mesmerized by the aisle.

It started one day by me picking up a bottle of wine.  The next week another bottle of wine, and a month later another bottle.  It started out by just trying different varietals of wine.

If I tried a wine in the “Riesling” category and found I didn’t like it the next week I would pick out a bottle of Chardonnay, or a bottle of Red.  And that’s WHAT wine tasting is all about.

I know we often look at the wine selection and get so overwhelmed.  We want a “good” bottle of wine, but when you first start out you have to give yourself the chance to learn what kind of wine you like.

wine-quotes-sometimes-wine-is-just-necessary-december-2012Another good way to find the varietals you like is by going to a local winery or wine tasting bar.  It may be intimidating at first, but the people behind the counter are the ones in the know.  They have a wealth of knowledge in them.  I mean, think about it, they are working at a Wine Bar or a Winery.  There’s a passion there somewhere.

But, at these places wine flights are often available at an affordable price where you can try 3 to 5 wines at a time of different varietals.  It is the BEST way to try wine when you’re first starting out.

You may have noticed this is EXACTLY what I’ve been doing since I’ve moved to the Sonoma/Napa area.  I am not necessarily all that familiar with the vineyards in the area or the wines they produce or the fact if I even like their wines, but I take myself to the different wineries to find out this information exactly.

BUT: my advice when first starting out with wine is to start with the white wine varietals.  I often recommend the sweeter white wines because so many people are fans of these.  So a Moscato, or a Riesling.  Another favorite for many is a good Prosecco.  Then I may expand my palette to a Pinot Gris (Grigio), Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay then jump ship over to the Reds.  I will always start out with the lighter reds such as a nice Red Blend (a variety of different Reds blended together in one bottle) to a good Pinot Noir to a Syrah then, when I’m brave begin trying out the more bold reds of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Wine and Cheese

Once you figure out your favorite varietal of wine to drink then shopping at the grocery store gets a little easier.  You may begin purchasing by just the varietal you like and learn about different offerings in that varietal alone, or on your more adventurous days try something completely out of left field.

In the end, the best way to start drinking wine is to just do it.


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