• by Jenny Benzie, Advanced Sommelier + Certified Wine Educator, Proprietress of Épernay Wine & Spirits
Every year has a new season, as they say in baseball, and the same can be found true for every vineyard and wine region in the world. You might wonder how to demystify wine and bring it down to this type of every day level that we see in the wide world of sports. This seems like an easy question to answer — read a little bit about wine each day.
Here is how simple this can be. For most sports fans, every morning they check the sports section of the paper or go online to see who won the game last night. They check the stats of their favorite players, see who was traded and anticipate when the next game is scheduled. Who had the most points and was the highest scorer? Which was the best of show? These are just a few of the questions that you may ask yourself about sports. And these same questions can be asked about wine. Browsing through a wine magazine and familiarizing yourself with a few wine critics will guide you to learn more about wine in general and the style of wine that you like drink.
New teams form, uniforms may change, players might switch to a different team. This is all similar to the wine world where new wineries begin in new areas, labels may be modified, and a winemaker may work for a new winery. What about athletes that use steroids? They use them to enhance their performance. Wine can also be manipulated so that it is bigger, contains more alcohol, and is rich with texture.
By watching a quick five-minute wine spot on the internet every evening as you unwind with a glass of wine after work, you can learn a little something each day. Eventually, you know who the big players are, where they came from, what school they attended, who their teammates are, when were they drafted, if they ever been traded, and more. You follow your favorite professional athlete; now you can start to follow your favorite wine professional. Sometimes they fumble, other times they score a homerun. And as the fan, you want to learn more about your favorite “team” to impress your friends with trivia at the wine bar late at night!
Wine is something that is attainable for everyone. Whether you are on a budget and choose the cheap seats at the game, decide to sit along the baseline to see the wine being made, or you have season tickets and entertain in your sports box at every home game, you decide how you get your money’s worth out of the wine experience. Switching from wooden bats to aluminum? How dare they mess with the tradition of replacing corks with Stelvin screw closures! Are half bottles considered minor leagues and magnums the World Series? (Did you ever notice how they all celebrate with champagne at the end anyway?!?)
I think you get the picture, just take it one day at a time. Eventually, before you know it, you will be the one who knows all about the different vintages, which company bought out which team and who are the rising stars that make it all happen for us.