Wine experts are known to have deep knowledge about wines that go beyond determining exactly how they taste. For instance, a seasoned wine expert can explain in great detail what’s happening on their palate or even determine the aging potential of a young wine.
If you’re a budding wine lover, it must’ve struck your mind what would it be like if you become a wine expert. The question is, can you go from being an ordinary wine enthusiast to a wine expert without attending sommelier school?
Of course, you can! Find out how by taking a closer look at this how-to guide.
1. Develop Your Wine Palate
Do you enjoy drinking wine? Well, if you want to become a wine expert, you’ll have to take a sip from more wine glasses from now on. There’s no shortcut to developing your wine palate and the only way to learn to identify the subtleties of wine is through frequent tasting.
Go beyond the ‘wine’ flavor description and focus more on its flavor nuances. Begin by paying closer attention to your sensory areas such as the interior of your mouth, including your tongue and series of taste buds, as well as your nose. Process as much information as you can from the moment you smell that flavorful wine aroma until you savor its rich taste.
2. Expand Your Wine Selection
It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and try sampling new wine flavors. Don’t worry, it’s okay to drink wine only in small amounts—spitting is even acceptable. Although the high price of wine doesn’t necessarily mean that it would taste great, it’d be good if you try others besides your favorite cheap wines.
You can expand your wine selection by trying out top-quality wines from various wine retailers like . Don’t be afraid to taste bold and peculiar flavors. No wine enthusiast became a wine expert by specializing only in the same kind of wine.
As you continue to sip and taste a varied selection of wines, you should be able to distinguish the primary aromas from the ‘wine bouquet’, which is a term used to describe the secondary and tertiary wine aromas as wine ages in a bottle. The three primary aromas are typically associated with the following flavors:
Fruit flavors (e.g., blackberry, cherry, peaches)
Flower flavors (e.g., lavender, citrus blossom, rose)
Herbal flavors (e.g., rosemary, mint, bell pepper)
A wine’s level of fermentation and aging can be identified by tasting and distinguishing the wine bouquet, which is noted to be the secondary (fermentation aromas) and tertiary (aging aromas). These two distinct aromas are primarily associated with the following scents:
3. Do Your Research And Read A Book
Wine-tasting can only do you so much in deepening your wine knowledge. Apart from this, you should also take time to read several wine descriptions and other related information or studies, so you’d be familiar with the common characteristics of a wine.
To become an expert, do your research and read books to understand the fundamentals and complexities of wine, even its varieties. For example, by reading and doing research, you would know that French (Bordeaux) wines have more complexity and structure compared to an Australian cabernet sauvignon due to the different terroirs and climates where they originated.
Also, updating your vocabulary by studying wine lingos is a great idea to improve the way you link certain aromas or flavors with their recognized name. By learning this, you’d be able to share more vivid wine descriptions the next time you go to a wine tasting party.
4. Visit Your Local Wineries Or Travel To Wine Regions
If you think that buying bottles of wine is excessive for you, you can opt to visit wine bars near you instead. Wine bars are great spots to taste-practice wide varieties of wine through their by-the-glass option. Aside from visiting wine bars, making friends with the vendors of your local wineries and chatting with them about wines can also help you gain more knowledge about the wine-making process.
You can take this becoming-a-wine-expert journey up a notch by traveling to wine regions like Spain, Argentina, France, and California. In recent years, wine tourism has been so popular and it’s no surprise that more and more wine symposiums and auctions have been popping up all over the world.
Whether you choose to visit your local wineries or travel to wine-producing regions, doing so may give you the opportunity of receiving invitations to wine dinners and exclusive wine tasting events.
5. Participate in Wine Tasting Events
At wine tasting events, you’d get to interact with your fellow wine enthusiasts, some may even be legitimate wine experts already. By participating in these events, you can learn first-hand tips and ideas on how to become a wine expert from individuals who are far more experienced than you.
Keep in mind, however, that most wine tasting events strictly follow standard wine-tasting guidelines. These include doing activities that might prevent a wine taster from distinguishing wine aromas such as using perfumes or any excessive scents and smoking.
6. Put Your Wine Knowledge To The Test
Once you’ve followed all the steps above, it’s time to put your wine knowledge to the test and determine how far you’ve come from being a wine novice! You can try participating in wine-tasting challenges, take online wine quizzes, and try to answer your own wine questions.
For example, you should be able to answer questions like, once it’s opened?’ or ‘how do you tell the difference between wines that are still undergoing fermentation and those that are already on their post-fermentation stage?’
Keep Learning And Sipping
After you’ve put your wine knowledge to test and confirmed that you can be a wine expert, congratulations!
Always remember to take your time in sipping your drinks and to take note of the subtleties present in your wine. Also, expand your wine selection by trying out bold and exotic wine flavors. You are encouraged to travel and visit various wine bars, too. Don’t just taste the wine, experience it!
You can start planning your own wine tasting events now and although not necessary, you can also try to become a licensed wine professional by getting yourself certified.