Do you remember the episode of Taxi where Father Jim takes a hit off a joint and says, Columbian, Indica strain, South side of the mountains, picked in October, in the morning. Now that wasn’t wine tasting but there are wine enthusiasts that can tell you the strain of grape, the area it was produced in and in some cases, the specific vineyard. What you say? You make your own wine and you consider yourself a wine enthusiast. But do you ferment your own grapes and look down on the people that use kits? Yes there are a few definitions of wine enthusiasts. You may even consider yourself a wine enthusiast if you go to lots of wine tasting events such as the Los Alto Arts and Wine Festival. There are many more events in wine regions all over the world. At these events, wine enthusiasts can go to taste the new offerings of both domestic and foreign wineries.
Imagine my Surprise
Before my wine enthusiast stage, I pictured wine tasting as a gathering of stuffy looking men with moustaches who would look at and smell the wine, take a sip and spit it out. I thought it was all quite stuffy and high-brow, something akin to polo. Another view of the wine enthusiast was the one portrayed in TV and movies, that of the cork-smelling, glass swirlers with a superiority attitude. I remember my wife asking me to go to a winery for tasting. I relented after a few words and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to “taste” wine. Happily I went and discovered the joy of wine tasting. I had no idea it would be that much fun. My God, they weren’t all stuffy. Most of them were good people who had a love of wine in common.
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A Changing of the Times
In the past, the public generally took their wine choices from so-called wine experts. That has changed because of more wine tasting opportunities and the fact that most community education programs include wine education classes. This has taught the general public to judge the wine on its own merits, after all each person has individual taste.
Here Taste This
There are lots of conversations that go on while wine tasting. Wine enthusiasts are generally very social animals who love nothing better than to discuss the merits of the favorite wine of the day. They take great joy in introducing new offerings to complete strangers within the wine tasting room. They discuss different vineyards and wineries. The may steadfastly claim their love for a certain blend but they are open to at least trying new wines. Back in the day, wine enthusiasts were depicted as unrelenting about trying new blends.
So what’s in it for me?
These days there are advantages to being a wine enthusiast. People get paid well as tasters. Another more likely source of benefit to the wine enthusiast is in educational forums, teaching other people what to look for in a good wine. With this multi billion dollar industry, there are lots of spin-offs. Wine accessories are a huge business and growing by leaps and bounds.