5 easy tricks to avoid looking stupid when ordering wine in public - while still getting exactly what you like
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- There's a phenomenal variety of wine in the world, and a lot of it comes with technical, intimidating vocabulary.
- But it doesn't have to be that way.
- Here are five tricks everyone should know when they're ordering wine.
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As a lifelong wine fanatic, I hate hearing people tell me, "I really like wine but I don't know enough." Even worse, "wine makes me feel stupid." I will say two things about this:
- People love chocolate and do just fine experimenting with chocolate. Why is wine only for experts while chocolate is for everyone?
- The people who make and sell wine don't want wine to make anyone feel this way.
The complexity and seemingly endless amount of detail and variation that scares some people off attracted me to the world of wine. Time, curiosity, and obsession are great teachers and over the years, I have tasted thousands of wines from around the world.
Over that time, I developed some tricks that will help guide people as they continue to explore wines - or just navigate the wine list for a business dinner or their next trip to the store to buy a bottle for their in-laws.
What makes wine exciting and sometimes intimidating is the phenomenal variety of it that exists. Because of this variety, we need language to categorize and describe differences. This wine-centric vocabulary frequently turns off or intimidates the uninitiated.
Phrases like, "It has a delightfully floral nose with slight hints of gun powder and leather on the finish," or "this wine was aged on the lees," mystify many and, worse yet, create a sense that people just aren't educated enough to enjoy the glass in their hand. Don't worry: That isn't the case.
No amount of terminology will trump your experience tasting the wine. This vocabulary can be useful and if you really get into wine, you may find yourself eventually talking about the hints of leather and flinty minerality - or not. No big deal either way!
For those without the encyclopedic knowledge and vocabulary of a Master Sommelier or even an obsessed wine nerd like me, I offer shortcuts. Here are five tricks designed to help you navigate potentially awkward situations while comfortably getting assistance from someone who can help you navigate wine choices with no embarrassment.