Discovering Your Palate
Learning about wine is a journey. There is no rush to reach the end because this trip has no destination. The more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to know. Be warned that at first the road will seem rocky, filled with wrong turns and detours. Patience is required but if you have fun while learning and are prepared to experiment and take chances the rewards will certainly outweigh the risks. Here are a couple of ways to get started.
The most important thing to always remember is that there is no substitute for your own palate. If a wine doesn't make you happy then it's not a good wine for you. Having said that keep in mind that as you try more wine your palate will begin to gain its own knowledge and sometimes a wine you tried early on and didn't like might become appreciated later on. But that's further down the road. In the beginning you must try everything.
Now this can become expensive and let's face it, wine isn't cheap. At first try cheaper wines, cheap doesn't have to mean bad. Every wine region in the world makes wines that accurately represent the area. They may not be the most complex wines but they will give you an impression of the grape.
Go to as many free wine tastings as you can.
Most wine stores offer these on weekends, ask around and make stopping by a part of your schedule. Soon you will discover your preferences. An important ally in this is your local wine store. Look for a store that offers good prices with a broad selection. It's not hard to tell if a store is passionate about their products. They are the stores that constantly are featuring interesting wines, regardless of price. Chances are this will not be your local supermarket or large chain store. These large places can be a good place to get the best price but that doesn't help if you don't know what you like.
After you begin to get a sense of what you like, start talking to the salespeople. They are surrounded by wine eight hours a day and likely they will have good suggestions. Chances are not everyone you talk to has the same taste as you so try to find someone who understands what you like. If you don't like what they suggest don't feel like you should. Remember a salesperson's job is to give you what you want. Avoid people who insist you buy something. Once you begin to trust someone as they have demonstrated that they understand what you like then listen to their suggestions. Everyone knows when they are
up-sold or being bullied into a purchase, signify your displeasure by shopping elsewhere. These types of stores will not help you learn. In the long run a trusted wine salesperson will save you money and time and will introduce you to wines you might never have heard of. There's a lot of wine out there and and no one knows everything.
Read as much as possible. The internet has become a useful tool for this. Take the bottle and search for information on it. Google is great for this. Usually you'll discover a wide range of information. Often this information is marketing related but there are many sites made by people who simply love wine and like to share their knowledge. After reading a couple of sites you'll find a consensus opinion about the wine. If more than two sites are
positive then likely it's good. A way to avoid mistakes is to research the wine beforehand. Take down the information at the store and look it up before you purchase. But again, you first must discover what pleases you and there is no substitute for tasting it yourself.
Remember your palate is your guide along this journey. Your palate will change as time goes on but it will never lie.
more food, health, and nutrition tips
To teach and learn money skills, personal finance, money management, business,
careers, and life skills please go to the Money
Instructor home page.