Skip to main content

Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 20 of 21

How to Shop for Wine


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 20 of 21

How to Shop for Wine


Lesson Info

How to Shop for Wine

I think we feel really good about how to blind taste, why you need to have a context, how you use a method to understand everything about a wine where it comes from, how is made what it was made from when it was made. You know, that's for me. The rial, the rial, intelligent, fun, unassuming approach to learning about wine. It's It's a really great way to do, as opposed to again. You can do the other way, read a bunch of books and then maybe go taste something. I think it's much more fun to approach it this way. You can actually taste something and learn, learn all the way back through in the other direction about everything that makes it special. So with that, um, I'm hopeful that you're inspired to go buy some wine. Are you feeling it? Yeah, it's a good thing. Yeah, and I need you to do so. So makes the wine world go round. So lots of questions and questions. I frequently get our How do I How do I shop for wine? Um, my first question is, how do you How do you shop for one? Several one...

clubs in that cinema. That's a great way to deliver. Sometimes we go out and get them, but usually we get them delivered. That's fantastic. Awesome. We'll do tastings. Great crab stuff. Fantastic. And if you don't live in California e mean what's another great way to do this? I could buy him online. Buying online exactly. Using the Internet, I think, is really the greatest way to at least begin your effort. I love I'm a visual guy like, you know what? I may not remember that I've had Hecht in Bonnier Bandel, but when I see that label, I'm gonna remember I've had it. So I'm actually still a big fan of touching and looking at the labels. But I'm a fan of doing so in an educated sense, and part of that comes from my own work, such as what we've just spent the last two days. Doing together and tasting understanding have a fundamental idea of what is quality in wine before I go by. But also, winesearcher is a great tool that you can use on the Internet toe. Look something up, learn about it, right? It's before. I mean, when I was first studying the stuff you either go Leiber and get the books. He had to buy the books. He had to subscribe to the periodic ALS. And they would come, You know, every 60 or 90 days, and it was such a slow process, and it all happened so so much more quickly today. It's instant instantaneous. Um, so I would encourage you to for sure used the Internet to get smart before you go buy something, right. What is expensive? What's expensive to you To me? Yeah. Like, just like to have wine for dinner. Like a normal night or something. Fancy. Let's qualify. Both. All right, if I'm gonna grab some wine for just a dinner at home, maybe, like 20 ish. Okay, great. Awesome. Maybe go up to, like, 30 or 40. But that's really only for, like, special occasions. Okay, Great. Awesome. And how about for you? What's the number? Um, I'm a little older than you are. Look, we've been collecting for a while. Um, probably 40 or 50. Great. For a normal day. And then we have some 100 up special. Although I tended want a drink, those on a normal day, so it gets a little bit confusing. Awesome. Well, the real point of the question is to say that expensive is relative, right? Doesn't matter. You know what you have, how much you have or what you don't have. It's what? What's your threshold for pain? Really? You know, in this case, financial think like, what do you willing to dio? And so So it ring brings up a great point. What is expensive and what is value. And on Lee, you can answer that for yourself. It's It's actually very much in keeping with how Democratic this is. It's, you know, if you like it, that's fine. What's the apogee of anyone? When's it at its best? You know, you and I might have different answers. And so when you think about this question, it's intensely personal, and I want you to think about that when you know for yourself not like, consider the question. But consider yourself empowered to answer that question for yourself. So you know what? This is a good value. It cost X, and I'm comfy with X where it costs why, and I'm actually uncomfortable for what? With y. So I'm gonna say that for a special occasion. If you think about If you want to dig deeper and look at the segment we did yesterday on the Napa Valley cabernet and you see that the $100 bottle of cabernet on the shelf might get six bucks to the producer, you know, that's you know, that you might begin to answer that question a little bit differently. So I'm hopefully he'll keep that math front of hand. I know that you were talking about changing the way you buy wine. I actually already dio because that $100 wine from the stores is costing me 50 to 60 through the line club. Exactly. So it already feels like a value, and it's going directly to the producer total. And it's going directly to the producer, which is a nice thing. Yeah. Yeah. Um, use your network. Cultivate your advocates. This is this is a point that that I can't harp on more strong leaving that I'm about to. Which is to say you have to trust your Somalia. People say, Oh, you had o r. I'll get text like, Hey, bits, I'm in. You know best in l. A. What should I drink? Or or ham in Frasca in Boulder. What should I drink? It was like you should ask for the Somali, you know, like I'm your I'm your buddy. But you know, the guy that or the woman that wrote the list knows more about that list than anybody you know, and they put those bottles away and they know what's in great shape. Or maybe what's leaking or what they want to get rid of. What, what's a what's a secret? Or they tasted something cool and you might not know about it. So it's really important. This is the relationship that we need to flip in our country. We because we're still a young wine drinking nation, we very much, um, haven't gotten to the place where we see these people was advocates as opposed to adversaries, right? So the person the wine shop isn't trying to fleece you if it's a good wine shop and the Somali in the restaurant isn't trying to fleece you if he or she is a good similiar. And when I was working his assembly a my my up cell, you know that term that we say we're gonna like your up, sell someone you're taking from more money. My upset was actually the down sell like you tell me what to spend 50 bucks and you want to be this. I would always try to blow your mind for 30 bucks. And then you're my regular. Like you want to come back and see Richard right? And that's what you want to dio, because we make it great and we make it affordable and its hospitality. Fundamentally, it's hospitality viewed in the restaurant or in the wine shops. That's their job. And sometimes you have to remind him of that, right? Sometimes you dio or you just have to reboot and get a different wine shop. Or, you know, she was different restaurants. And that happens also. But it's important to really approach the relationship with this idea and let them feel it that there to be your advocates and not your adversary Online wine shops. So, like wine library dot com. Yeah, carry banner check, great store those air as opposed to like going into retail a price. Are you gonna see price differences are gonna see quality differences. You're going to see all those things I am. I am not someone that's gonna change my loyalties based purely on price. Like I'm not going to change my loyalties. If I can save a couple bucks, I think my time is worth a lot. I think convenience counts for a lot. Um, and to just say, well, prices the only determining factor. You know, where you gonna drive a long ways for it? Are you gonna occur A big shipping bill for it? Um, you just have to decide what's right for you. The important point that I would use answer. Your question is, I would say, Are those retailers your advocates? Meaning? What do you want? You want a great bottle of wine? Well, maybe it's not going to be a great bottle of wine. It started is one. But there storage is bad, right? Or you know, their services better, whatever it is. And so, um, are there differences there? Tons of differences. And you just have tea for me. It's about building a relationship, right? And so once you have that relationship and you trust those guys so, like, I actually buy wine, wine library. I really trust those guys. I go in there and I sell them wine, too. But I've been in there. I've seen it. I've touched it. I've held it. I know what it's about. And I also know that, like, Hey, I'm on the West Coast today and I see something I want. I can buy it with all assurances it will be shipped immediately. Okay. Makes sense. Yeah. Okay. The next point is one that I'm also very, very emotional about. We touched on it a little bit yesterday. Vintage. So you're shopping for wine? Hey, was that a good vintage? What's the answer? Yeah, the answer is yes. Regardless of what it is and you qualify the yes, like, yes, it's a good vintage. Every vintage is good for something. That's that's a key. And so you want to understand? Um So for example, we I own a little vineyard in Burgundy with some partners, and every year we get wine. And so, um, 2000 and 94 examples of very hyped vintage and the press wrote all kinds of glowing things about it and say, Oh, it's a good vintage. I want to buy that one and drink it. Well, yes, it's a good vintage in. It is good for drinking in, like 30 years from now. In the meantime, I'm gonna be really thirsty, You know what I mean? And then there's a vintage like 2000 and seven, where the press it, you know, that's not a good vintage. It rained. You know, mold pressure washed out. It's not a good vintage, so a lot of people then skip it. You know, it's actually it's not a good vintage to say for 30 years. It's a great managed to drink right now. And in fact, I drink all of it. Um, which is great. So it's really important. I think Teoh approach it like that. Otherwise you're gonna get stuck with winds that only fit a single mold. And you're gonna have nothing to drink for a while or you gonna be drinking things that maybe aren't at their prime. And whether you realize it can take a trajectory and become something bigger or not, you might be just disappointed. You like, You know what? I'm supposed to like this because someone said it's good and I don't like it. So maybe winds, not for me. And would that be said when they'd be sad, like if you didn't, like, figure out that one was actually for you. Wine is for you once for everybody. Once you figure out how to really trust your palate, right? And so trust your palate by also participating in all the vintages. And, you know, I sound like a guy who sells wine saying that. But I'm a much bigger drinker that I am a seller of wine and, you know, case in point. Every vintage is good for something. I drink them off. Um, what makes for a good drinking environment will Definitely not in your car. Um, I think you know, this is this is also a place where I want Oh, just reinforce this idea of democracy. Mean that's up to you. You know, we talked this morning about wine glasses. Do one glasses have to have a stem? No. No, they don't. You know, if it makes you happy, that's fine. I think one thing we can't there are some just like food. Wine pairing. You eat what you like with and drink what you like. You know, it doesn't matter if they're they're center just on paper, But it's important, I think, or at least worthwhile to understand what you know what are some of the factors that can help, You know, help you enjoy success. And some of them are like temperature. You know, we have a We have a great, um, capacity for serving wines. Too warm here in America, right? You know, they're frequently stored in the kitchen or storage room. Temperature will. Room temperature was an idea that came about when the room was a castle. It was 50 degrees. You know, we now call it 72 degrees, but frequently, you know, it's almost a whole lot warmer than that. So focused on temperature. We spent some time today with this Also glasses and understanding. Like how those actually make a difference. Get a good glass if it matters to you. You know, if you if you've taken the time and you've taken the care um, Teoh, you know, procure a good wine. You're excited about it, you know, set yourself up for success. Make it served its make sure it's served at the right temperature too, can't it? If it needs to be much like we did in the earlier episode serving in a glass, it's going to make it look great, you know, it's all about making things look great. Do all principles of wine tasting also applied a fortified wines, such a sherries and ports? Yeah, yeah, they do. That's a great question. And I live. I'm smitten with Sherry, for sure, particularly dry sherry. And it's It's all about balance. It definitely it comes back to the same question. And so in the case of port, you have sugar much like the reasoning we saw yesterday. But you have elevated alcohol, even deliberately elevated alcove, where they've added some. So you've got a lot of residual sugar. You've got a lot of alcohol. You've also got a lot of fruit that brings all this stuff back into balance. And if it's vintage port of a lot of tannin eso So it's the same equation you just have to figure out, like who's participating in the teeter totter dance that figure out? Is it balanced, or isn't it right? We also have someone asking If I am new to wine and I am interested in wine tourism, where would you recommend I begin, Um, in a place like Napa or Sonoma there, so many wineries. How do I pick one? And that's kind of the same issue that I have. Yeah, that's a great question. Um, start with a recommendation. Start with a friend. I mean, when the nicest parts about wine is the community that it fosters and everybody's got an opinion, right, Um, and which is which is cool and soon. Over time, it's like, you know, like I curated a back when we used to go to record stores, you'd find, like, Okay, that's the kid that knows what I like, right? And then someone else would, because it meant something like, You know, I didn't like that and come back and say, You know, I don't like that I like this more. And so that's part of the fun is engaging that community and figure out what people like what's making him smile. And eventually you'll understand what makes you smile to, um and then don't be afraid to try. You know, one of the things we have house guests over, you know, we pour out a lot of wine. If you don't like it, just just dump it out, which it sounds wasteful. It sounds crazy, but, you know, if you if you cook something you don't need any more of it. You're done with it. You know, you just and so I think it's important to feel the freedom t not like things and not feel like you have to have him, right? Yeah. So just just try. Try away. When I was first getting into toe wine, uh, I was given some advice by by somebody a said beg, borrow, steal, But taste, taste, taste. And I think over the last few days, we've seen how much tasting matters and building your context will help you figure out what you like. Great school. Thank you. Food, wine, tour, tourism, travel in context. So when we started yesterday, I told you the story about how I picked up a glass of wine and that first sniff took me back to a meal I'd had almost five years earlier when I was living in Italy and I remembered it in great detail. That sort of stuff happens all the time now because I mean, this is my life. I travel and I drink and we make the stuff we eat. And so it is very rich in that vein. But it's also, you know, I saw a lot of this. Only that those are the memories that matter the most to people that are getting into wine. And they know So you're in Italy or you're in snow. More wherever it is you are, and you're having a great time. You can actually take yourself back to that time by drinking these wines again, even even back at home. Right? So you know it tonight. I'm in San Francisco. Um, you know, maybe I want to go to Italy. Last night, I went to Sardinia just by virtue of tasting, and we figured out how to taste intelligently, right, how to break down the wines and take that trip. And it's important to do that. So when you're building your context, travel, traveling, taste, you know, even if it's it's from your arm chair. And if you're actually there, even better, um, get super important feel about, um, purchasing wine at like a Costco are What's your take on wine? Wine at Costco. The Great high five Costco. Yeah, I I don't You know if if you're drinking wine, you know you're on the right page, as's far as I'm concerned, you know, if you're drinking iced tea We've almost got you there. Like I like ice T too. But you know what I mean. It is long as you're drinking. Why? And you're participating in it. Um, I think that's great. And I really believe, um that, you know, I'm not definitely not here to make a personal statement on what kind of retailer you should use. I don't think that's important. I think what is important and mawr important. It's means that we just carry the flag of wine drinking as being part of, ah, healthy and happy life, right? Make it that grocery, not a luxury. And it helps make your life better. Craig. Yeah, shipping lines. A big one. Um, it's illegal in a lot of places, but becoming more and more prevalent on becoming legal in many more states. I'm a big advocate of it. I think direct shipping much is which is you buy directly from producers is a worthwhile thing. Um, you know, we talked about the three tier system, and that's a worthwhile thing, too. They both served their function. But when shopping for wine, I am fact, I just bought some wine via and app. We're gonna look at in a second, and it's being shipped to me this week. So, um, I'm not adverse to that. But there are some some rules I think, that are very much worth following. Here's the guy with no rules who's about to give you some rules. Um, don't ship the slow boat right? The remember remember or two apples this morning. You know, if you leave one out on the counter at room temperature, it's eventually going to rot and walk away. Same thing with wine. You know, it's it's a living, breathing thing. You want to care for it so you don't You don't want to ship it. Um, you know, in cardboard in summer where it's gonna take, you know, even two or three days to get there and think of think about literally think about, you know, putting that puppy from this morning and in that cardboard box and shipping of somewhere. And it's gonna bounce around truck to truck, airplane to airplane on the back of some FedEx truck or UPS truck in the heat of the summer. It's not going to show up in such good shape, you know. So it was really important to Hey Let's ship in the colder months. Let's ship where it's not going to sit in a warehouse over the weekend. And frankly, you know, if if you really care about the one you're shipping, you'll ship it overnight. So big advocate of it. But I'm a big advocate of doing it. Great questions, Um, curious about international wine clubs is that legal of it's coming into the U S. Into a state that allows you to ship. Yeah, I think it's It's there. Lots of hoops to jump through for for those clubs to do that if they figured it out good for them. Yeah, but I wouldn't, uh I personally wouldn't sign up with un unless they could demonstrate that they figured it out. So, uh, you know my home being here in America, my work being in several other countries, even just shipping samples for ourselves toe look at our own work. It's a really complicated process, and I understand where it has to stop and how many stops it has to make and how much regulatory paperwork has to be done for all those things. And that's just for the samples for the work. So if you're gonna actually, like, pay some company and Francis Shipley stuff like, Oh, hey, we'll get it to you. Well, maybe they will. Maybe they won't. Right. See, just I would make sure that you know that that's totally vetted. And for sure it's gonna get to you. Yeah, um would shopping for wine. I think it's important to be really aware of trends and focus on, you know, I have a winemaker friend I admire greatly. Terry Layton, who has a saying, you know, focus on data, not dogma. Um, you guys have become great collectors of data over the last couple days. You know how to objectively look at a bottle of wine and evaluated, Understand what is quality that's important. The wine industry. On the other hand, it's a big height machine, right? And as we said, everyone has an opinion and everyone has something to sell. And so there's a lot of noise, you know? So how do you How do you clear out that noise and not fall victim to the to the latest? You know, whatever it is, you have to have this and you have to have that or this is the only ones fit to drink or, you know, again, it's a lot of noise. Everyone's got got something to sell, and it's by collecting death so again and reinforcing this idea of be a great taster, right? As you've learned to dio and really focus on that, and just because someone says it's great doesn't mean it's great doesn't mean it's great. Only you decide if that's great. Good. Okay, how about one is an investment. I hear this a lot. Um, the news, at least the wine industry Experian industry news is filled with stories about, um, people going boom and bust is wine as an investment, I personally do not, Um I'm not really a believer. I'm not a believer. I mean, is made to be drunk and not traded and hoarded and and speculated on, um, I think that very quickly it becomes anathema to the spirit with which it was first made. Right? So be a drinker if you're gonna invest if you're going to invest, um, you know, pay attention, you know, be focused and, uh, to the previous point, don't fall prey to trend. You see, people like, Oh, this is the hottest thing you buy it, and there's some great examples. I mean, there's some great California cabernets that when when they came out there like, Oh, you gotta have them, it's gonna We need your bucks. Well, you know, 12 years later, I could buy that's exact same wine. It's only 200 bucks today. You know what if what if you were that guy that's been 500 bucks for it. Or when the 2000 vintage Bordeaux was released on Premier and it was like the greatest vintage in the last 100 years, the millennium vintage and all this hype in all this noise. And, you know, you could buy Premier meaning I'm going to give the chateau my money two years in advance. Before I get the wine, I'm gonna pay more for it than I can actually pay for the year old wine that they made. That was amazing, is amazing. I can drink right now. Like what? You know, begin What? Because it makes sense And what what? Seems like It's a little bit out of touch with reality. Where you gonna get your money back? You know where you gonna find your pleasure? So in the end. They really aren't that many blue chip wines in the world mean Bordeaux has been. There's also a lot of it, you know, And and so we've seen China, for example, got really involved in Bordeaux, and now they're not at all involved in Bordeaux. And so if you held it on the expectation that this this emerging wine drinking country was gonna buy it and you went along well, you're probably holding the bag right now. You know it's not. It's not so good. Um, you know, Champagne, Burgundy in Rome, Italy. Where's the next hot place going to be and how long? Let's say those were really tough questions to answer. I think they're so tough that it's really you know, they're very, very few people that do that well, and I always encourage encourage people to be drinkers instead of quarters. I have a question from our online audience. Um, exactly. If you were to go ahead and pick what your favorite wine would be, and I know you have a lot of favorites, I'm sure, Which one would it be? And why does it resonate with you? Yeah, that's a really easy question for me, and it's it's anyone that tastes like a place, and I know that's not the answer you wanted. But, um, I would get that answer or that question a lot. I was the greatest when you ever had or what's your favorite wine. And for me, it's It's the one that lets me take a trip. You know, it's the one that has that intellectual value. I want to be able to do that. And, um so yeah, there certain? Sure, I drink a lot of Shibley, for example. You know, I drink a lot of champagne. I drink a lot of fino sherry, and so there are things that I go to more than others. But I'm super happy as long as it speaks to a place that's that's really that's really key. Yep. Furthermore, Mary says, Can Richard also discussed dessert wines, old versus new worlds? Yeah, ones you'd kind of decipher to be. Yeah. Yep, I think, um, in terms of dessert wines, it's really the consumption of them has for sure fallen off like eso Turner's, the sweet white wine from Bordeaux, our port. Those aren't as much a part of the wine drinking vernacular today as they once were, which I think is a shame. Um, they're amazing wines with with lots of great interest and worth, um, and those in many cases those are what I turn Venice cultural artifacts, those air winds that were made in a place in a certain way that would make no sense to try to do now like no one's gonna no one can invent must got to Pantelleria. Today we grow these grapes and you drive him out on the rocks by the ocean until they're shrivel up into raises than you press him into the sweet wine. That's an amazing thing like that. He's great and it's cool. There's a cool story, and it can only happen there right on. And why is Port Port and why is Madera? Madera means there's amazing stories that are just amazing to mine. I mean, what's there to be learned is very, very special. Um, so I'm a fan. People don't drink them as much as they once did, And in the new World there, there are some efforts to reproduce those sorts of things. And yes, sometimes we make something that does have some sugar and does have a lot of fruit. Does have some appeal. Intellectually, it probably doesn't have the depth of story in history, which doesn't make it less good if you like it. That's great. But for sure that those were really the difference is that there is just a really depth of story to these to these old world sweet wines and how they came about. Yeah. Any other questions from our in studio audience? Yes, it's probably going to be difficult, but, um, could you name, like, one red and one white that someone would consider around 20 to $30 to bring, Like for the holidays? Yep. What do you eat? What if you don't know? What if you're going to someone South? Yeah. Okay. Where you're going with someone's house, you also will have to build into the calculus that it might not be opened. That's always one of those things. When you bring something to someone's house, it's almost like it's almost like playing risk like that. That wine game we talked about, you gotta bring something good enough to win, but you gotta bring two of um right. So, um, I've definitely been in that position where like I'm so psyched. I'm going to So and so's house. I'm gonna bring this cool magnum of this thing. I've only got one, and I'm so excited you're getting you bring and they don't open it, and then you're stuck like, Oh, damn, it was, You know, can I ask you open it, Can I not? And, you know, the social graces air different every situation, right? So what I do like about your questions? You said bucks. So that's just like, Okay, we got it. You know, it's it's pretty much grocery time in good way in the best sense of that word. Um, and so it's, you know, it's get something that's either you can either play it safe or you can have a point of view, right? And so playing a safe Pena Norine chardonnay, right? Or Pino Grigio are and things that don't have a lot of structure are gonna pair with a wired wider, wider variety of foods like peanut noir is gonna probably pair pretty well that we had in the last segment two segments ago is gonna pair pretty well with a lot of different things. The band, all that we had in the last segment has a real point of view. I mean, it's funky. Smells like leather smells like earth. It's got a lot of tannin. It's not gonna pair with a lot of stuff, but it's gonna be a conversation starter, and that's kind of fun to write. I tend to like to bring things that air polarizing and actually, you know, drop this right now, making much noise and see what happens, you know? And that's fun. That's part of the conversation that gets interesting. So this is a big one. I get this question all the time. You know, I had this wine, it was so good. And I just can't remember what it WAAS was like. How do you still say that? Like we all have these things. These things take pictures like take pictures. You know, that's that's the simple answer that people generally forget. Is that how do you remember the ones you like? Take their picture? I almost take a picture from pretty much every bottle I drink. In fact, I woke up this morning and said, My partners, like, remember all those great wines we had last night, all of which I can hear what they are because my phone had died and I didn't take any pictures of sadness. And they were all Sardinian and amazing and things I can't even say so shame on me, but pointing That's a great way. Teoh, Remember what you drank? Another great way is to use an app, and there are a lot of APS out there today. Delectable is the one I use, and I like a lot. Um, and there's there's electable upper right one down and one over, and here it is. So this is what the app looks like when you open it up and these people I follows there's making crib Brown, who's sneer when iter of food and Wine magazine and following her. And that's the last thing she drank. Um, and in this case, let's just say I drank this elephant Shiraz and I really like it. So then you go to the camera and here it is. Hit it. The wine label. Illegible. Yep, that's gonna take a minute and see what it recognizes. Oh, and in fact, there it is. So the APP recognizes the wine already. It tells you what other people have thought about it. It tells you how much it is. You can actually buy it right in that. And then so I can read it top right and remind myself, right? So you know what? I actually really like that a lot. Who are my drinking it with? Where am I? You can in all your notes at any comments you want, right? Yea, creativelive and boom. And it's in there. And then I can go to me in the lower right. And here's everything I've been drinking. So it's a history of everything I've been doing. I've been drinking pretty well, you know, close on human. Will Sammy own Chateau Margaux so on and so forth. And this is a great way Teoh to record what you drank. And also, if you want to buy it. So it's a good thing to dio questions going a little further in depth with this, um, we had someone ask a little earlier. What are some good blawg publications, or what are some of your favorite blog's? That's a great question. You know, our wine enthusiasts and wanna learn more, just read mawr get information. Yeah. You know, um, I actually used. The Guild of Sema liaise. And that's Ah, it's a nonprofit, actually, and it's born out of the court of master Sommelier is and the guilt of something is a Web site is amazing. It's very much worth using as an online resource that it's essentially an online resource that replicates that huge, tiring stack of books I had when I was working through this from from the very beginning and all that reading and all that highlighting and all that, you know, taking that I did. It's now in the site, but the the, um the updating that happens. I mean, it's like it's on it. So it's not like we're waiting a bunch of wines. It's like, This is what's happening in the world of wine. This is how the world of wine is governing organized, and it's a great way to dig into a subject. So, like, for example, I know you you really dug the Santa Barbara Pino and they had a cabernet from Santa Barbara, where you can go there and just like find out what's happening. Um, so I would encourage people to join that community. It's really meaningful community, and then beyond that, um, you know, of course, there's like the New York Times. Eric Ass, mom's great great wine writer. I enjoy reading him every Wednesday. The Wine Spectator is a magazine. I also enjoy those. Sometimes there are poison points of view between all these different periodic ALS. Robert Parker was a real polarizing figure remains such as as a writer, and I think it's some I found is a professional that it's not so much about finding someone who has taste exactly like me. It's finding someone who's writing style I enjoy and whose power I can calibrate my own palette to. So, like Parker, for example, it does not have a power like I have. We don't like the same things, but, um, what's good about him is he's consistent, right? And so I know that if he says, you know green, blue and red to him, that's green, blue and red. But to me it means, you know, purple, magenta and pink. And I don't like that. Or if he says probably Jensen pink, and that means red, white and blue. Then I do like that, you know? I mean, so you're always just like we're relating one line to another. You know, I can relate my power to his. And when he doesn't get excited about something, maybe I should get excited. And when he does get excited about something, I should probably steer clear. And that's that's actually a really useful tool, because that's a guy that tastes wine for a living. I take a lot of wind like I taste even more wine or, you know, the Spectator, the New York Times or wherever it is. Um, people that do this professionally, they've got a wealth of knowledge. And so it's, you know, sometimes you don't find, you know, the guy that takes just like you dio. But if you find someone who is consistent and you can figure out how you relate to them, then then there's actually used to be made.

Class Description

Do you cower when presented with the wine list? Feel at a loss while walking the wine aisle? You are not alone! Many of us struggle to differentiate between the subtleties of the world’s oldest beverage. But wine is not destined to be difficult! Join Master Sommelier Richard Betts for a fun and informative guide to buying, tasting, and enjoying wine.

Become a Great Wine Taster is your guide to wine varietals, trends, and tastes. You’ll learn Richard’s “wine is a grocery, not a luxury” approach to wine while exploring the differences between regions and the history behind them. Richard will teach a simple method for looking at, smelling, and tasting each wine so you understand the nuances and the provenance of the drink in your glass. You’ll study the important factors and features of winemaking by exploring ideas through related varietals. Richard will discuss:

  • Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – the impact of climate and oak
  • Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Zinfandel – balance, sweetness, and alcohol content
  • Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio, Gruner Veltliner, and Chenin Blanc – important grapes, small subtleties
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s subjects – regional expression of the ubiquitous reds
  • Pinot Noir – temperamental grapes and growing in France, California, Oregon and Australia
  • Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo – wine production in Italy and Spain
  • Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache and friends – blends and winemaker’s intent

You’ll also learn about the unique ways we modify wine, like making it sparkle, heating it, turning it into Port, and so much more! This class will help you get more comfortable with wine, remove much of it’s mystery, and show you how to integrate it into your everyday life.

Pair your appreciation for wine with knowledge in this accessible and educational class. Join Richard for Become a Great Wine Taster and never fumble over wine selection again.


a Creativelive Student

This course was amazing. As someone who felt really intimidated by wine before, I finished the course feeling a lot more confident and excited to try out my new wine knowledge. Great instructor with great content. Would definitely recommend!


Good course, needs to identify wines to set up tasting. It was fun to do with friends. Perfect to watch in the segments.


Fabulous! I've passed the Introductory Exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers, but, never ginned up (pun intended) the deductive tasting. This did it. There are several of us who purchased this course and are doing out best to re-create the tastings and memorize the map. Thanks so much for the class and for Richard Betts.