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Supercharge Your Sommelier Skills! How to Learn Wine Basics in 5 Simple Steps

National Red Wine Day is August 28th! That means it’s the perfect time to learn a little more about the wonders of reds, whites, and rosés. Gaining wine knowledge doesn’t have to be scary, and that’s why we’ve created a list of great first steps to lead you in the right direction. Learn more about wine with these tips, and supercharge your sommelier skills in no time!

Purchase a Wine Book (or Two!)

Before you head to a dozen tastings or invest in a bottle with a sky-high price tag, start accruing basic wine knowledge! Opt for reference books like The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. Other sommelier-approved reading recommendations include The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil and Into Wine by Olivier Magny.

With these reads, you’ll build a solid framework. You’ll learn how to categorize wine (e.g., light, medium, and heavy body; oaked and unoaked, etc.), appreciate wine and food pairings, and understand various wine regions, grape varieties, and their distinct flavors. All of which can put you on the sommelier bandwagon faster than you might think.

Join an Online Wine Community

Serious budding sommeliers wondering how to start learning about wine should also consider joining online academies like Napa Valley Wine Academy. The key is to find and join an organization with courses, educational materials, discussion forums, and events to help you meet your wine goals!

You can also dive into the world of wine by following sommelier social media accounts and listening to wine-centric podcasts. You’ll soak up new information at your leisure while getting elbow-deep in your day-to-day activities. Total win-win!

Learn From The Experts at Wine Tastings

When beginning your journey to sommelier, there’s no better way to learn about wine than straight from the gurus. Local wineries will often host wine tastings where you can try various — often local — flavors (and bring home a bottle of your favorite). Your host will walk you through the process, educating you about the wines you’re tasting.

Most importantly, don’t hold back with your questions! Your wine tasting host is a professional, and they’ll be happy to share their knowledge – especially if they know this is your intro to wine.

Spend Time at Local Wine Bars

Ask a sommelier how to learn more about wine, and they’ll make a common suggestion: spend time drinking wine with wine lovers! By making a wine bar your go-to hang-out or happy hour spot, you’re bound to learn tons of great, new things! Try new wines, take advantage of any special offerings, ask questions, make comparisons, and even take notes! Which, of course, leads to the final tip…

Taste, Taste, and Taste!

The best way to learn about wine is to try a whole lot of it. Pick up a bottle you’ve never tried whenever you go to the store. Order a glass of something that looks interesting on your next date night. Go to wine tastings to try several different wines without breaking the bank. Host dinners and ask guests to bring their favorite bottles, or treat everyone to a delicious homemade sangria.

Every time you try a new wine, make a point to read the label, look it up in your wine book, or do a quick search online. By tasting as many types as you can and doing your background research, you’ll start to connect the dots and familiarize yourself with the world of wine.

Put the “Twist” in Painting with a Twist

We’re all about the “twist” in Painting with a Twist. Join in on the fun! Grab your favorite bottle of wine and book an unforgettable Painting with a Twist event at your local studio — just in time for National Red Wine Day!

three wine glasses
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