It was recently my half birthday. In case you didn’t already mail me a card, no worries because I also accept Venmo and Paypal. Since I’m officially 22 and a half, I’ve made it through 18 months of wine tasting and compensating for five years of forced designated driving. Here are some of the handy facts I’ve learned that nobody told me before I went wine tasting:
Lesson one: s l o w down.
When I was handed my first pour, I couldn’t wait to, well, taste it. I went for it, taking a classy sip, only to look around and realize that everyone else was still smelling and swirling. Twirling your glass around looks posh, and helps the wine aerate and taste better. Remember to smell before sipping as well, and look up some words in the thesaurus for “smells like grapes”. When you get better at drinking wine (#goals), you’ll actually be able to sort through the different smells.
Lesson two: everyone loves the new kid.
For the uninitiated who do not have all of “Mean Girls” memorized, the wise Gretchen Wieners once proclaimed, “I can’t help that I’m so popular.” True that, Gretch, especially in the tasting room. I was a little embarrassed to be such an amateur, but I quickly learned that there’s nothing winery staff love more than taking newbies under their wing. Proudly wave that vertical ID around!
Lesson three: you probably won’t run into a Tinder match.
At least in the Bay Area, wine tasting demographics tend to run a little older than my glorious millenial self. This is fabulous for networking, and for meeting amazing women and forcing your mom to be friends with them. This is not-so-fabulous for scoring a date, but luckily you can meet a guy elsewhere and then bring him wine tasting. You can also feel like a boss with all the wine knowledge you’ve gained through this blog, and totally destroy his ego.
Lesson four: nobody is here to judge you.
First off, you’re welcome for the Ryan Gosling gif. Secondly, I had an inane fear that other wine tasters would try to hate on my lack of wine knowledge. I’m the type of person who likes researching situations before I get into them, but there wasn’t really a way for me to learn about wine when I couldn’t legally consume it. To this day, I still can’t tell you which country my favorite red blends are made in, or commit to buying a bottle of white wine. But I’ve learned that nobody in the tasting room is there to judge you, and everyone else is learning, too. Even the wine enthusiast crew that I roll with learns new info at every stop, and there’s no pretense involved. Ask whatever questions come to mind, even if they seem obvious! This is coming from the girl who has asked for clarification multiple times on what port is.
I have six months left of 22. I have adopted the “Forever 21” mantra, but I’m excited to learn more about wine and be able to speak more eloquently in the tasting room. For now, I’m focused on controlling my visceral wince after a sip of white wine. Keep me in your thoughts.