Whether you’re hosting a gathering of friends and family or enjoying a quiet meal at home, nothing quite finishes off the meal like a nice glass of wine.
Unfortunately, there are so many variables to pairing wine with your food, not to mention personal preferences, you may find yourself falling back on your tried-and-true (read: worn out) favorites.
Fortunately, there are some resources to help you avoid generic kitchen wines or an earthy choice hiding behind a beautiful label.
How to Become a Wine Expert
Many communities, especially those established in wine country, offer classes that run the course between home entertainers hoping to choose a better wine for their cheese and fruit plate and seasoned sommeliers who need to boost their credentials.
These community offerings may last a couple of hours for a one-night event or entail a several-week commitment, based on your goals. In your quest to pair food and wine successfully, don’t overlook some great opportunities to learn how to taste wine, read labels, store wine, and describe what you want. Oh, and maybe you’d like to brush up on some wine-serving etiquette.
Wine Tasting Tours
Why sit in a classroom when you could wander over rolling hills of vines, sampling regional varietals, enjoying outdoor lunches, and learning from wine country experts. Participating in a wine-tasting tour offers you the chance to indulge your senses in an idyllic setting while learning all about winemaking, cellars, local wines, and wine pairing. Can you imagine a better way to unwind from your daily worries? All in the name of education, my friend.
If you can’t fit a vacation into your schedule just now, keep your eyes open for winery events at one of the top Healdsburg wineries. These events might feature excursions through vineyards with dramatic views of wildlife and nature, lavish dinners with friends, or strolls through the winery.
You may not have any vacation time left, but you could certainly fit one of these educational events into an evening or weekend. If you sign up for an estate tour or vineyard hike, you could also boost your daily step numbers. Learn more about wine and get in some exercise; it’s a win-win.
Wine Shop Employees
If you’re confident in your wine shop, you may find the employees are a valuable source of information. Wine shop clerks spend a lot of time working with wines, becoming familiar with winemaking practices, and studying wine varieties to keep the shop stocked with perfect options for discerning customers. If you’re not sure what to serve at your first barbecue of the season, discuss your menu with the clerk. There’s a very good chance you’ll walk out with a fine selection to please your guests.
Hit the Books
Finally, you could check out some resources from the library or look up wine-pairing facts online. This option doesn’t give you the chance to hang out in the amazing atmosphere of a vineyard or to hobnob with expert vintners, but it does give you the chance to pull together a lot of information quickly and privately – even if you happen to be in your pajamas.
Before you serve up yet another common California wine, invest a little time boosting your wine expertise. You’re sure to find at least one option that fits into your schedule and budget.