Sunday, December 31, 2006

Starting As A Wine Taster

If you are looking for a hobby that is a bit unusual and has an element of fun in it, consider taking up wine tasting. It actually is not what many people imagine, which is a group of people who sit around and get drunk for fun. Real wine tasters are serious about their wines, and they work to learn all they can about them.

To get started as a wine taster, you should first begin by doing a little research. Though the basic rule for wine, the one that most people know is that the wine color should match the meat (or sauce) of your meal. Beyond that, though, most people are clueless about which wines complement which meals. The matches are based not on arbitrary decisions but on how certain types of wine taste with certain meals. You can begin by reading basic books on wine tasting and one types of wine.

Early in your wine tasting hobby, you probably will want to take a tour through a winery. These types of tours are fascinating if you are interested in history and machinery at all. You will see exactly how wines are made and will have an idea of the terms associated with the process. If you live in the Sonoma Valley or another popular wine venue, then you will have an easier time finding a wine tour to take. Everyone should be able to find one with a little work, though. A wine-tasting tour is a great way to get others in on your hobby, too. After all, who can resist a visit to taste great wine?

You also may want to look for a wine tasting club near you. These clubs exist almost everywhere, and they come with various levels of commitment. Some people in the clubs are very serious about their wines. They drink almost everyday and save up bottles of good wines for special occasions. The character Paul Giamatti plays in Sideways is a great example of an obsessive wine connoisseur. Most are not as devoted, though. Instead they are amateur wine tasters. If you join a club, you probably will meet once or twice a month either at the home of a member or at a local winery or restaurant.

Some of the members will want to share information about new wines they have purchased or tried. Other groups will plan trips to visit popular vineyards or even to visit places in Europe where some of the more exotic wines in the world are made. Still other wine-tasting clubs will go in together to purchase expensive wines by the case so that everyone will be able to enjoy excellent quality wine for less money. Mostly, though, these clubs are just a way for people who enjoy great wine to get together to spend time with others who share their passion.

Once you pick up this hobby, you may just find that you spend more time than you would have thought thinking about wine and the various kinds available. You will want to show off your wines to your friends, which means that you probably will want to build a wine cellar at some point. While few people have an entire cellar devoted to wine, many of them have small areas cordoned off.

You can build your own wine area for little money. You will need some type of wine rack that will hold a decent number of bottles. One that holds 20 to 30 bottles is enough for most people. Then you will need an area of your basement or a back closet or other space. The space needs to stay relatively cool, which is why basements are a perfect location. Then you will need to put up a heavy drape or a door if possible to keep the light out. Light can ruin wine, so you need to keep the area as dark as possible. Only go into it to get wine out and leave. Do not linger or leave it exposed to the light, especially if you plan to leave the wine for a while.

Remember this hobby is one that you can and should enjoy responsibly. Wine tasting can be a great way to have fun with others.

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