10 of my best tips for revitalizing your personal wine program or becoming a better drinker
1. Be curious: There is no shame in learning, only in pretending to know what you don’t.
2. Order stuff you can’t pronounce: Or rather, don’t not order wine because you can’t eloquently articulate the name. I will never judge if you mispronounce something – I am just thrilled that I can share my wine geekdom with someone.
3. Drink more white wine: Drink it in the winter. Drink it with meat (maybe not with a porterhouse). Whites can be amazingly complex or lovely for their simplicity. They are better for sipping than reds, which often need food to shine due to their tannins.
4. Treat yourself: Every now and then, spend a little more on your vino. I can guarantee if you splurge on a batch every once in a while, taking advantage of our monthly specials, and take the time to let it age appropriately, you will be more than happy with your wine.
5. Don’t drink trendy wines: Just because everyone is raving about the “best new variety” doesn’t mean there aren’t other wines that are just as good, if not better. Drink a wine because you like it.
6. Visit local wineries when you travel: This adds a fun dimension to your trip, gives you a local’s insight to the region — winemakers usually give great restaurant recs! — and you just might discover something tasty that you have never had before. Who knows, it could become your new favorite!
7. Take a trip to the Okanagan or Vancouver Island: We have wine country in our backyard, less than five hours away, and some of the wines are pretty darn good.
8. Taste a new varietal: Put down that Cab Sauv from California! How about Pinotage from South Africa? Gewürztraminer from Germany? Or something less challenging and easier to find, like Riesling?
9. Try new regions: Italy alone produces hundreds of varietals beyond Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. If you have a favorite region, why not try new wines from nearby.
10. Have fun! Wine isn’t meant to intimidate you. Even a Master of Wine can’t taste and recollect every wine in the world, so nobody expects you to either.