By Cathy Huyghe
1. Taste a little bit, even a sip or two, every day. The more you taste, the easier it becomes because the experience of wine grows increasingly familiar. The key is to start looking, and to get in the habit.
2. Accept that you can do this on a budget. There is no better time to be a wine consumer. Why? Restaurants and wine shops all over town – there is bound to be one where you live – are vying for your business by offering special deals here, discount offers there, try-before-you-buy options somewhere else.
3. Overcome feeling overwhelmed. Make friends with your local wine merchant. Sign up for wine communities online. There are resources available; find out that’s suited to your personality.
4. Boston is a player in domestic and international wine sales. Which means winemakers and winery representatives visit the Hub on a very regular basis. Take advantage of these first-hand opportunities, like Philippe Blanck at BOKX 109, Jack Bittner of Cliff Lede at the Nantucket Wine Festival, Darioush at the Boston Harbor Hotel, and Patrizia Lamborghini at Gordon’s to name a few.
5. Get your feet wet. Literally. Wine-producing vineyards are a short drive away, no matter where you live, whether it’s west of Boston, the Cape, Rhode Island, Connecticut, even New Hampshire.
6. Connect with the brain trust. Link up with a tasting club. Take a class. Few urban areas boast the university culture that drives much of Boston’s energy and enthusiasm. All of those brain cells have a surprising thirst for wines of all stripes, from MIT to Boston University to Brandeis to Harvard.
7. Whether it’s big-scale like a marketing campaign from Gallo, or small-scale like a person-to-person transaction in a tiny wine shop somewhere in Jamaica Plain, the business of wine is at its best when it’s making someone’s life better. Maximize those opportunities to move beyond your mundane daily concerns. Wine is a treat. Treat it like one.