14 Things Every Wine Student Should Know

These lists tend to get a little silly, I admit. I recently saw a list in a wine article published by GQ which I found not just appalling, but outright offensive. And I'm usually the one who's doing the offending. Anyway. I thought I could do better. I actually know I can do better. Let's go.

14 Things Every Wine Student Should Know

1. The answer to every question you have starts with "it depends".

2. There are no definitive lists.

3. Get comfortable with your ignorance.

4. Forget about what you "like". It will not help you learn about or understand a wine.

5. Points do not matter. This is one thing about wine I will say definitively.

6. The best wine app you have is your camera roll. Take a picture of every bottle you drink.

7. If your goal is to serve wine and educate others, spend as much time talking to non-wine people about non-wine things as you do tasting and reading. The more you know about the world outside of wine, the more easily you can relate wine to other things that people actually are familiar with.

People like things that they are familiar with, and they will listen to you.

8. Do not for a second believe that being talked down to by a wine person who you think knows a lot is appropriate or normal. The best people in any field do not do this.

9. Nothing smells and tastes more like the wine than the wine itself.

10. Don't get carried away or too focused on tasting notes. Sure, they're fun. But see #9.

11. Your goal should not exclusively be to be a great blind taster. Blind tasting is effective because it can tell you a lot about yourself. It can let you know when your perception has been influenced by a label, a trend, or by other people, and it can be a barometer for your familiarity with certain wines and regions. Keep in mind, however, that many great wine people are not great blind tasters, and that the opposite is also true. There's a lot more to it.

12. Always consider whom a wine is made by, by whom the wine producer is owned, for whom the wine is made, and what the economic motives of the producer might be.

13. Popular wines are not always good wines. This does not mean they are always bad either. Flies are attracted to honey, but they are also attracted to shit.

14. No one list about wine will ever be sufficient. Learn from as many sources as you possibly can.

Keep on learning. If you try hard, drink, read, drink, read, and seek to understand,

you will be great.

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