Often I’m asked how I transitioned into loving wine. For me, it wasn’t just about flavor or how well wine accompanied food, even though that was a large part of it. But I enjoy researching topics that begin to fascinate me, and that’s a big part of what attracted me to wine. I didn’t know back then that I’d be asked so often how it started. So it’s fun for me to watch others transition into wine appreciation when they hadn’t previously taken much interest in wine.
I’m asked really often by the people around me for wine recommendations, both for sipping and for pairing (as I’m always giving out my recipes and consequently my suggested pairings), but I find it’s easier to suggest wines to family and friends who already enjoy wine, so I can compare regions or varietals and make recommendations based upon what the person usually enjoys. For me, the challenge is converting a non-wine drinker and figuring out how to make the experience fun and interesting for the person.
I think perhaps I was a bit of an exception when I transitioned into wine appreciation - my first love among wines was an Alsace Gewurztraminer and when I began to enjoy reds, it was with a Spanish Carignan blend. So it’s interesting to me to observe others learning which wines are right for them, at least in the early stages of wine appreciation.
A friend of mine has been experimenting with wine over the past few months and I like recommending wines to him, especially since he seems open minded about it, and since he’s not pairing the wine with food, it’s a little easier to make recommendations. So far, it seems New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Italian Pinot Grigio, and lightly oaked American Chardonnays are his favorites. What’s really interesting to me is that most new wine drinkers seem to transition in with Riesling as the slightly sweeter characteristics make the wine’s acidity more palatable. Yet so far my friend isn’t particularly fond of Riesling. Now with the cooler months approaching, I’ve suggested a few reds to him, so I’m looking forward to hearing how he enjoys them.
I’m just very happy when someone trusts my judgment and takes my suggestions on wines to try - especially new wine drinkers - and I’m even happier when I hear their reactions to these wines. Thank goodness for open mindedness and willingness to try new things!