Updated: May 19, 2020
There are unlimited ways to experience wine these days because it’s so popular. And the more ways you can experience wine, the more you will learn about it and probably the more excited you’ll get about wine. That is definitely the case for me.
These 4 ways to experience wine are fantastic ways to learn, to meet other wine lovers, and to keep you moving on your wine journey.
Experience #1: Select & Taste Wine at Home
This is one of the best ways to learn about wine. Just through the process of setting up your own tasting, you will learn more than if a tasting is set up for you. They say you learn more by teaching. It’s the same thing.
I’ve put together many tastings ranging from big parties to small gatherings, to just me tasting and learning. For each tasting, you need to identify the approach. Is the focus going to be on comparing different types of wine like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay? Or will it be focused on one type of wine like Pinot Noir from different regions?
It depends on what you want to learn. By comparing different types of wine, you get a better sense of the differences between each type and which you like best. By tasting wine from different regions, you get a sense of the nuances between regions. You also start to learn quite a bit about the wine regions and what makes them special.
Just by going through this process of identifying the wine tasting approach you will become so much more involved and learn much more about the wine you end up tasting. It’s one of the best ways to experience wine.
Experience #2: Attend a Tasting Event
Where else are so many bottles of wine open and ready for you to taste than at a wine tasting event. This could be an organized event that you pay to attend or it could be a free tasting at your local wine or liquor store.
I’ve attended several at my local wine store for free. Where else can you try such a wide variety of wine at a range of price points? And you get the company reps telling you the history of the winery, the wine profiles, how the wine was produced. You get a great amount of information from attending these events. Then if any of the wines really stand out to you, just pick up a few bottles and you’ve got some great options for your next gathering.
Because there are so many wines to try at these events, there are several different strategies you can take. You could stick to reds or focus on sparkling wines. At one of the tastings, one of the attendees asked the wine reps which was their favorite and would try that one. Another great approach.
And because there are so many wines to taste, feel free to use the spit bucket. You can take a taste of wine and pour out the rest into the bucket. You can also taste and spit into the bucket. This is completely acceptable. Just practice at home first. You don’t want the wine spraying everywhere!
Experience #3: Visit a Winery
There is no better way to appreciate how wine is made than to take a tour of a winery. You can learn so much by seeing the equipment and learning about the different processes for making wine. There are biodynamic vineyards and gravitational flow wineries. Wine can be aged in stainless steel tanks, oak barrels, or the latest are concrete eggs. What?!
When you go on a winery tour, you can actually feel the amount of effort, love, and passion that goes into making each wine. There really is such a sense of pride.
We’ve visited large Disney-like wineries — yes, we actually got into a motorized vehicle and were driven into a building and past huge video screens showing the different wine processes. We’ve also visited small, boutique wineries that have wonderful history to share.
My husband even found a winemaker who made wine in his garage. With one of his wines, he took the extra step of dipping the bottle in wax. He expressed that it was only he and his wife dipping the bottles and it took several days. He joked that it almost ruined his marriage and then offered to sell his winemaking business to my husband. Well, I have to say his wine bottles looked amazing and the wine inside was absolutely delicious.
Even if you aren’t near major wine country, chances are good you’ve got a local winery near you. Even if they aren’t known for the best wines, I’m certain it’ll still be a great learning experience. So, look them up and plan a visit.
Experience #4: Wine Pairing Dinner
One of our favorite experiences is to attend wine dinners. You can actually experience this in a couple of different ways. Some restaurants will host a dinner with a featured winery. For example, we’ve attended a wine dinner that features Grgich Hills wines which is out of California. The winery works with the restaurant to develop the menu and the wine pairings. They usually serve multiple courses and they pair a different wine with each course.
The winery rep will share some history about the wine, the chef will also share a bit about the food and what makes the pairing special. They even have drawings to give away swag and bottles of wine. It’s also a great way to meet other wine lovers.
We’ve attended these at Fleming’s Steakhouse and Roy’s Restaurant. Somehow, we are on their email list for these events. They don’t seem to put these on their website, but just call them up and ask if they have a wine dinner event coming up.
Another approach is to find a restaurant that offers a multi-course dinner where they pair each course with a different wine. With this approach, the waiter will share a bit about the wine. You won’t get as much information as the wine dinner event, but it’s still a great way to experience how the experts pair wine with food.
Experience Wine in a New Way
Add any of these wine experiences to your bucket list. Host your own wine tasting, attend a tasting event, visit a winery, or attend a wine dinner. Any of these wine experiences will broaden your knowledge and they’re just plain fun! So, how can you go wrong?!