Wine. Du vin. Vinho. Whatever you may call it, wine is global. It's made in nearly every part of the world, and it's something that many in the drinking-population enjoy, but at the same time, it's still seen as an elite and occasionally pretentious subject. I'm here to tell you how fun wine is, and how it's not just for the elite. Whenever people find out that I know a bit about wine, they're impressed. At first, I found that praise weird and undeserved because wine is something that you learn about by drinking it, which many people do everyday of their lives. After a bit of time though, I started to appreciate the compliment because all my drinking efforts were not in vain. And also it reflected that I actually paid attention in my college wine course (she says with humility). Point is, wine is the coolest! It's a science, an ancient practice that is almost as old as the Earth, and it's something everyone can learn about and enjoy together.
Anyway, the first step to take if you ever want to learn more about wine, or just want to figure out what wines are more suited to your personal tastes, DRINK. I mean that in a responsible way, not in a 'let's get wasted' way. Drinking wine though is sincerely the best way to learn more about wine. It helps you figure out if you're into red or white, if you like lighter or heavier wines, do you like wines that are sweeter or dryer, etc. You get the idea. As you taste the different wines, I recommend taking notes and definitely taking pictures of the labels of the wines you like the most so you can buy them again. As someone who used to sell wine to people, it truly helps to have a picture of your favorite wines when you're looking for it. Much easier than saying to a wine salesperson, "I had this incredible wine. It may have been a red. I think it was sweet, but it was also really tart and dry. I can't remember the name of it, but does that sound like any wine you can think of?" I heard descriptions like that many times, and while I was always happy to help people find a different dream wine, people don't often like to change what they already know they like, even if they can't remember the name.
I'm getting ahead of myself though; when you decide that you want to start testing and tasting different wines, I would recommend hitting up your local wine store during their tasting hours and trying whatever they have open. If you really love something that you taste and the price is just right, buy it. If you like something that you taste, but maybe you don't want to buy the exact wine being poured, ask the salespeople to help you find something similar. Be as specific as you can with what you like about the wine, whether it's how light it is or because you loved how it tasted like chocolate covered cherries. You don't need to know the keywords of wine to describe why you like it. Wine in a lot of ways is very subjective.
Once you figure out which wines you really like, pat yourself on the back because you now know about wine!
I want to let you all in on a little secret about the prices of wine: expensive wine is not always the greatest wine. I know, glass ceilings are shattering all over the world. Don't get me wrong--a lot of expensive wine is amazing and out of this world, BUT the assumption that any wine under $20 isn't great or special is just ludicrous. A lot of times, certain wines might be highly priced because of the cost of production or because the brand is well-known and they mark it up solely based on that. There are plenty of great, highly priced wines that deserve the markup, but there are also some that could be priced lower. If you want a great quality wine that doesn't break the bank, I recommend buying Spanish or South American wine. The wines from those regions in the world don't cost a lot to make, so they can be sold for reasonable prices in stores.
Here are a couple of my favorite Spanish wines that you should totally check out:
Now, get drinking! Enjoy, and feel free to let me know how your tasting goes.