I started a new position today as a purchasing assistant for a major winery. Well, I realized that even though I sure enjoy drinking wine, I don’t know that much about it. And this is the perfect opportunity to learn, I mean how many interviews do you go to where they ask if you drink wine, and you really must answer yes enthusiastically? They have wine glasses lined up along side coffee mugs in the break room! This is my kind of job!
So I am going to do some tasting, in the name of research, I assure you :), and some reading, and educate myself on the finer points of wine. I’d appreciate any comments, links, whatever from you fine folks, wine snobs, closet wine snobs, winos, the whole lot of ya. Cheers.
Oh my. I’m glad for you, but not much of a wine snob myself.
Don’t really drink enough, I guess.
When I drink wine at work it’s always at a business lunch, and I have to watch my expense account, so I usually get house wines.
Get yourself a book on making and tasting wine. Do it immediately. You need to understand the basic qualities and characteristics of wine. The nomenclature is critical for you to be able to talk about it.
For a nice web link thingy, try
and buy yourself a decent corkscrew and glasses. Leverpull and Riedel are the obvious choices. They may even be tax deductible!
I haven’t read this book myself, but I noticed a 'Wine for Dummies" at Barnes and Noble the other day. I’ve liked the ‘Dummies’ books that I’ve read, so I’d assume this one would be good, as well. Good luck.
Zenster’s and Aglarond’s suggestions are good ones to learn the basics of wine-tasting nomenclature and geneaology.
The thing that did me the most good was just getting out to the wineries and tasting and comparing. Take a notebook with you so that you will remember your impressions. Spit rather than swallow so that you don’t get looped too early, and remember that after a lot of tasting your taster gets tired and you won’t be as accurate.
Talk about wines to the sommelier or waiter at good restaurants and ask him or her why they are recommending specific wines with the meals, and take notes.
Go to tastings at good quality wine merchants, because that is an excellent way to compare different brands of the same varietal, or different countries’ versions of the same varietals. I think you live in the bay area; K&L Wine Merchants are terrific for this, and I know there must be others.
Lastly, here are just a few things from my own experience:
American and Australian wines are much “bigger” than European wines. They are richer, fruitier, woodier, and more “saturated.” My taste has decided that the European style is better with foods, being subtler, dryer and lighter; they don’t overwhelm the food. However, if I am drinking wine by itself or with big American food, like BBQ ribs or a big grilled New York steak, I like California reds, like Zinfandel or Cabernet.
It’s a myth that European wines cost more. I’ve found that California wineries are charging more for wine all the time, until it’s impossible to find good cabs under $20 a bottle. Good wine dealers (like K&L) sell excellent European imports at bargain prices and you can find very good wines starting from under $10 a bottle.
You sound like you’ve chosen an enviable profession. Good luck to you and let us know how you do!
psycat: I want your job. Give it to me.
Oh, and there’s some good info in a couple of similar previous threads; check out:
P.S. [hypnotist voice] You wiiiillll give your joooob to meeeeee…
I did pick up a copy of Wine for Dummies and have found it to be indispensible. It puts everything into layman’s terms, and above all, it always reminds you to trust your own judgement–just because others find a wine to be wonderful, yet you don’t–you’re not wrong. I heartily recommend it, before any of the other books. After that, there are encyclopedia-sized books such as The Oxford Companion to Wine that will be to your advantage if you have them on hand at work.
Check out local wine shops and restaurants that offer wine tastings for $10-20, where you can get samples of several wines, and speak to other experts on the subject. That is how I’ve picked up some of my knowledge along the way.
You’re doing this at the same time I’m starting my wine class in culinary school–we should compare notes
Okay, here’s your first job as a wine snob:
Recommend a red wine for me, a sweet white wine lover. What types should I try. I’ve tried Lambrusco, which I like but I want to know more. I don’t want to be one of those “chicks at the bar who drink white wine” (I remember seeing a joke or a thread about these types).
Okay, the clock is staring…now…
::Jeopardy theme music::
I’m not sure if I envy you or not psycat90. Drinking wine for a living=good. Talking about wine for a living=yikes!
I have relatives who are seriously into wine making and tasting, I on the other hand am mearly into wine drinking.
Picture the scene…
We are tasting a group of wines at a vineyard.
Relative #1… this one has a lovely deep scarlet color
relative #2… yes, a shade darker than the 95
Me… Looks red!
Relative #1… the nose reminds me of oak and wild berries
Relative #2… yes, this one has a wonderfully fruity nose
Me… Smells good!
Relative #1… ahhh, so many different flavours (insert long list of things)
Relative #2… indeed and also (insert another long list of things)
Me… Yup, tastes like red wine!
Ok, so I’m a philistine!
Good luck with the new job psycat90.
Dare I ask where you’ll be working? Maybe along the west shore of Seneca Lake somewhere? That’s where mommajesus and I spent part our honeymoon. Her (and now my) cousins live outside of Dresden. Janet use to work at Prejean.
This isn’t any help, but I found it funny. http://www.kerp.net/cronjob/cron5.html
Especially for you SeaDog.
Wow! What a totally fun job!!
I personally decided to become a wine snob in college, while I was working as a cocktail waitress. I got sick of being condescended to by the patrons, so I resolved to learn their language. I found a book called Exploring Wine to be absolutely indispensible. It’s also really really huge (it’s a textbook put out by the Culinary Institute of America), but you can skim a lot of it. The chapters on how to taste wine are really great!
As for websites, I recommend UC Davis’s site: wineserver.ucdavis.edu. Check out the aroma wheel & before long you’ll be bs*ing with the best of them!!
Another website to check out is http://www.winespectator.com
They have all the wine news, new releases, wine gossip… everything you’ll probably need to know at work.
But BunnyGirl, there’s a reason that there are those “chicks.” It’s because that what they like. It’s not as if anyone can recommend a red wine that tastes like a sweet white wine. And it’s not as if those chicks at the bar can just “choose” to like red wine. They need to teach themselves to like it. Some people never like it, or never end up liking anything but merlot, or whatever.
If you’re going to expand yourself into red wine, don’t just find one that you like because it’s sweet. Train yourself to explore the whole world of wines. Sweet is a pretty basic, and more or less immature, taste. After all, you don’t want to be the butt of “chick sitting at the bar drinking Merlot” jokes, either, do you?
Hmm, seems I;ve got the snob part down, eh?
Leigh-Anne and I have been drinking more wine lately, trying to pick out different varieties and trying them out. So far we both like the German fruity whites, like Gewurtztramminer and Riesling; and I’ve really enjoyed the Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir that I picked out. I don’t really know much about “wine talk” or the various grapes or regions or processes, but I’m discovering that there’s a lot more to wine than “Riunite on ice.”
Wey hey! I’ll sob with the best of them now, thanks Aglarond
esp. liked the lip-stick thing, can’t wait to raid the Mrs make-up bag for some ideas!!
Thanks guys. The links to other sites, including the other threads here with links to other sites, were fantastic. I think I will pick up a couple of books mentioned as well. This is something I have always said I would do (learn about wine), but just never bothered to do the “homework”. This job is literally forcing me to, and it is a good thing. The position isn’t very glamorous at all, your average cubicle-type job, mostly requiring me to deal with vendors of labels, bottles, corks, etc., but it is interesting, and it does require some knowledge of wine, obviously. I’m learning the ‘lingo’. I will keep you posted here and there, I don’t come around these parts much anymore, perhaps once I get settled into a rhythm that will change. Thanks again.
Oh btw, jesuslynch, no it’s not a Seneca Lake winery, It’s in Sonoma Valley
Which one? Benziger? Arrowood? Clos du Bois? Korbel?
Please tell me it’s Gundlach Bundschu. I love those guys.
True, necros, I guess I am one of those “chicks”. I am going to try and be more adventurous with wine now - I promise!
However, I know enough not to buy my wine by the box!