Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
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Dear Dr. Vinny,
My husband and I are beginner “winers.” What is the best way to go about learning from A-Z and everything in between?
—Cathy C., Jensen Beach, Fla.
Welcome to the club!
Everyone’s journey is different, but I think that once you’ve been bitten by the wine bug, you’re going to discover an urge to start reading about wine and, of course, to start tasting as much as possible.
One of the best pieces of advice about wine I’ve ever heard is to make every sip count. Every time you get a chance to put some wine between your lips, you should be recording it—mentally, in a journal, by taking a photo with your phone, or perhaps all three. After a while you’ll start stringing these experiences together, and wines will start becoming reference points to each other.
When I first started drinking and buying wine, I also had a couple of wine shops that I developed a relationship with, where we could talk about the last few bottles I tried, and which I liked more than others, and get recommendations for my next purchase. Learning the wine lingo can be tough at first, so just saying “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” is a good place to start. The rest will come later.
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.