Liking wine is fashionable these days — and the selection has expanded tremendously. Far from just having the standard choices available (pinot grigio, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and so on), more and more wine lists are debuting interesting options like grüner veltliner, albariño, and muscadets. In 2010, there were almost 7,000 wineries in the United States and that number is growing. Millennials are partly to thank for this — Millennials drank almost 45% of the wine in the United States in 2015 — almost 160 million cases worth. Wineries are becoming popular as wedding venues, places for live music, and Instagram-perfect pictures for a weekend away. If you’re new to this scene, but want to explore your options, we’ll offer some ways to get started.
The Advantages to Being a Wine Drinker
If you’re not a big beer person, liking wine can ensure that you have a drink whenever you need one. It’s offered in most restaurants, bars, and clubs (as well as some open markets and pop up food locales).
We also have a perception of wine drinkers as being more refined and elegant or sophisticated, particularly if the person knows some things about what they’re drinking. There’s also a huge variety available, so even if you don’t like one, there are other options. Many people start drinking sweet varietals that go down easily, for example, and progress to drier ones.
Wine has also become seasonal like never before. Rosé is now a summer drink of choice along with crisp, fresh whites like vinho verdes or grüners, and heartier, richer red wines are popular in the fall and winter months.
And, paired correctly, it can open up whole new flavor profiles when it comes to food. The right wine paired with the perfect dish can transform your culinary experience.
How Can I Get Into Wine?
One of the best ways to get into wines is to be around people who like it. They can help introduce you to new types or knowing your likes and dislikes, suggest a wine to initially try. If they frequently order wine with dinner or while out and you’re comfortable asking, see if you can try a sip of theirs to see if you like it. This can be a low-cost (and low stakes) way of finding out what you like and don’t like, without feeling like you need to finish a glass or throw out a whole bottle.
Going to a wine tasting or a class is another great way, as you’ll have professional guidance. Often these places will pair cheese, nuts, or fruit with the wine, so you’ll also learn a bit about how to taste wine and what to serve with it as well, which is also useful information.
Once you know a few basic ones you like (and some descriptors) you can seek help at your local liquor store too. They ought to know plenty about the types of wine they carry and can make suggestions of both things you know you already like and some things you might want to try.
Here’s Why You Should Visit your Local Winery
For one, it’s a great way to sample what your area has to offer. They may have a fascinating history about the winery and the area, as well as the origins of the grapes. It’s also a fun activity to do with either your significant other, your family, or a group of friends. (And wineries are usually located in gorgeous places, so they’re perfect for pictures!)
You’re also supporting a local business by showing up and you’ll likely find a wine or two that you enjoy at the winery. Plus, you’re in for an education. Most places offer a tasting room or tasting class where you can sample what they have to offer. You’ll walk away more knowledgeable about wine for sure.
Becoming an oenophile is actually pretty easy! There are enough resources available and interest in wine already that if you want to start developing your own palate, it can be a fun and rewarding adventure.