things you never knew you needed to know to drink wine

Here is your first wine lesson before our March 2nd tasting.

If you don’t already know about the tasting you can find out about it here


If you are really new to trying out wine here are some handy things to know before you pick out a bottle!

• Wine is made of a particular grape or blend of grapes. This is usually right on the label for you but sometimes it’s not. If it is not on there the wine is either French (they label their wine by region and you are supposed to be snobby enough to recognize this) or a blend. An example of a blend would be Little Penguin’s Winter Red.

• Not all Chardonnays are the same! Just because you like a chardonnay from Australia doesn’t mean you’ll like the Californian one. Each wine is different based on where the grapes grow, when they are harvested and how they are processed. That’s the best part of wine tasting. You have to try them all!

• What’s a cheap bottle of wine? For some people spending $12 on a bottle of wine is going all out. Others think anything under $50 for a bottle and you might as well buy mouth wash. It really doesn’t matter. There are some great books you can buy with award winning wines under $20. Plus, you could always try them all!

• ‘Wine Tasting’ is an all-your-senses kind of thing. Remember to Look, Swirl, Smell, Sip, Savour and contemplate. Try with and without food. Spit if you are trying lots of wines then go back and actually drink a glass of your favorite. Things you are looking for include;

Clarity (is it really clear or a bit cloudy)
Weight in the Glass (Swirl)
Smell (what do you recognize)
Taste as you sip it (again try to recognize distinct flavours)
Taste and feel after you swallow (this is called the finish)

• Rule of thumb – White wine needs to be out of the fridge 20 minutes and red should go in for 20 minutes. That should be about the right serving temperature.

• Try to find a system that works for you for remembering what you liked! You’ll have to remember the context, too. Was it a good wine for dinner or did you have it without food? A small notebook works as you can bring it with you when you need to buy again.

• We live in the middle of wine country and one of the best ways to try many varieties of wine is to take a tour at a local winery. Check out and for info on our local wineries. Sometimes you can purchase wines right at the winery that are not available in stores. Especially the small wineries. Check out some of the smaller liquor stores in Kamloops for the boutique wines that are produced around here. The big chains can’t purchase enough of these wines to carry them so you can only find them in small shops. They can be relatively inexpensive as well!

Happy Tasting!


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