Increasing your wine know-how

There are tricks to building your wine knowledge and remembering wines you've liked — and disliked. At the top of the list — drink wine. And remember: Two palates are always better than one. A tasting partner will help you appreciate and unravel the nuances of a wine because you can exchange/discuss your impressions with each other. Besides, a glass of wine is always more enjoyable with a friend.

One way to build your wine knowledge is to attend wine tastings. Free tastings offer one of the best opportunities to be objective because you have neither money nor ego on the line. At the events, keep your ears open to the musings of more experienced wine enthusiasts. Listen to their descriptions and determine if you can distinguish the same flavors in the wine. Don't be afraid to talk to people and ask questions.


You can also build your knowledge by enrolling in wine education classes. These offer the opportunity to explore a wide spectrum of wines. In addition, classes have the luxury of built-in wine partners — the other students. Attend classes that offer wines that you are less familiar with, as well as those that rank among your favorites.

Finally, start your own wine library. Check out a used-book store, where you will find a treasure chest of books that are filled with history, maps, charts and descriptions of different grapes and wines.There's an easy way to keep track of the myriad wines that you've sampled: Start your own wine journal. A journal will allow you to record your thoughts and impressions of the wines you've tasted. The expensive, leather-bound journals can be too restrictive in the space they provide for information/ comments. Besides, for the cost of the journal you could buy some really good wines. Instead, create your own notebook with a format that suits you. Consider separating your journal into sections by country and by white and red wines. Create space for the year (vintage), the producer, the name of the wine, the purchase price, and the date of your tasting. Then, the most important part: Provide a sizable section for your overall evaluation and appreciation of the wine.

When you record your thoughts, write whatever comes to mind. Remember, this is your journal — record impressions in a way that reflects your thoughts on the wine and that will make sense when you reread the description at a later date. Don't feel compelled to use wine terminology if you don't completely understand the terms. You will get to know the terminology in time as you read your wine books and as your experience to wine increases.