Talking Wine with Beginners: Learn to Inspire Instead of Self Indulge.

Talking wine


Often times, as we speak to our friends about our passion for wine and are responded with blank stares and a look of overwhelm. It is very easy to get caught up in our passion for wine and perhaps shoot too high above their heads. I think we have all even been on the receiving end of this when we were beginners and I am sure that what thing we all could agree on was it was ultimately annoying!!! Yes, passion is very influential and a driving force behind our efforts, but often times we forget that while enjoying ourselves in our self-expression we should also seek to inspire someone but not trying to flex too many muscles.

Consider when talking about varietal wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for their unique grape variety and then immediately slip into referring to blends for what we like about them, and we haven’t even talked about region. God forbid we refer to one in the language in which the sort comes and drop words like cépage, Languedoc, terroir….you get the idea. Wine is being produced around the world with even new producers popping up even in Asia. To advert this air of pretension and scaring away an otherwise interested person, do you hand them your favourite wine bible and risk never seeing it again?

I prefer to speak lightly about my passion when with beginners with just enough enthusiasm to hold their attention and keep them captivated without crossing over that fine line into boredom and eventually, certain apathy. Keep the conversation light and simple though effective and lively and when you see their interests lean towards a particular idea just drop in “I’ll send you a link.” Yes we hear it all the time, but if you keep that promise you then score a double header by igniting an interest and scooping them back up with it when it is almost out of their head the following day. It’s like a follow up of motivational push. “Don’t worry about all the varietal wines out there right now, I’ll send you a link!” …where you give them Wikipedia is great for certain facts from which they can decide whether or not to continue to eventually purchase a book.

Often times a video could be better. Certainly you know many quality estates which make an effort to teach wine basics to beginners as to create a larger market. Go ahead and toss them something like from a quality Napa Valley winery. Benefit to this is at least the producer is sure to speak English;) I hope this helps think about how you can manage your conversations as to encourage and develop new enthusiasts instead of scaring them away. This producers a larger audience for our favourite estates and spreads our passion more effectively.