Wine Folly Logo
Tips & Tricks

Improve Your Wine Smarts in One Month

- Updated

Improve your wine smarts in one month with the following 4 useful tips.

Want to know more about wine? Getting into wine is challenging because there’s no rule book or set of steps to become a wine expert. For some people (maybe you?) this is part of the fun, although mostly it makes wine feel like a foreboding cliff of knowledge. Also, everyone has a different method of learning! So instead of giving you a set of rules to follow, I want to show you how to think like a wine expert. This way, the information will stick!

First things first, start exploring wine by comparison and perspective.

COMPARISON When you taste a wine in an isolated circumstance, it’s hard to understand how it relates to other wines. When you drink a wine and are able to compare it to other wines, you will develop a more keen palate.

PERSPECTIVE Wine is more than just fermented grape juice, it’s history, culture, location, and personality all wrapped up in a bottle. The next time you drink wine, take a moment to find out where it was made on a map.


4 Tips to Improve Your Wine Smarts in 1 Month

 

1. Try the same wine from 2 different countries

malbec-french-vs-argentina
Vallée du Lot, Cahors, France by Lapastore Didier . Bodegas Salentein, Mendoza, Argentina by Tony Bailey
 
Grab a bottle of Argentine Malbec and a bottle of Cahors (the French appellation of Malbec from the Sud Ouest) and taste them side by side. Comparing identical wines from different regions will tell you loads about how the region affects the taste of wine. If you decide you don’t like one of the wines, don’t worry, it will probably make excellent Sangria.


2. Try a wine that’s similar (but different) than your favorite

wine-alternatives
Are you a Pinot Noir addict? Or perhaps auto-ask for Sauvignon Blanc without even looking at the wine menu? If you want to improve your wine smarts, it’s important to diversify your palate. Fortunately, you don’t have to change your preferences to try something new that you’ll love. Start by finding alternatives to wines that you already love. Pick out 4 wines; one-per-week.

Different Types of Wine Infographic Chart
Need some additional support with suggestions for alternatives to popular wines? Check out the different types of wine infographic for ideas!
Different Types of Wine Infographic
 


3. Read about a small wine region and then taste a wine from there

Start with a small region. Learn where the region is, a little bit of its history and then buy the wine they specialize in producing. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to taste the spoils of your wine smarts!

Here are some examples of great valued regions worth investigating.

  • Alsace, France (known for white wines)
  • Ribera del Duero, Spain (known for savory red wine)
  • Paso Robles, California (known for fruity bold red wines)
  • Pelopennese, Greece (reds and whites)

4. Host a small wine tasting party at your place

wine-tasting-dinner-party
A wine tasting dinner party somewhere in First Hill, Seattle.
 
Wine is for sharing, it’s sized perfectly to enjoy with 3-4 people. With that in mind, host a small wine tasting party at your place and challenge your friends to bring a wine based on the themes above. If you plan on hosting a larger party, we recommend you check out this guide on hosting your own wine tastings.

wine-tasting-placemats
Don’t forget to grab and print out wine tasting placemats.
Free Wine Tasting Placemats
 

Buy the Book - Get the Course!

Get the Wine 101 Course ($29 value) FREE with the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition.

Learn More

AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

Cover Image for Tasting Challenge: Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

Tasting Challenge: Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon graces the final 34 Wines Tasting Challenge. Join us for the last delicious wine in the series.

Read More
Cover Image for Tasting Challenge: Spanish Rosado

Tasting Challenge: Spanish Rosado

This week’s challenge tastes Spanish Rosado. Our tasting challenge heads to the finish line with the bubblegum pink wine of Provence.

Read More
Cover Image for Tasting Challenge: French Gewürztraminer

Tasting Challenge: French Gewürztraminer

Discover how a distinctly German grape became a French wine superstar. This week’s tasting challenge sips on Gewürztraminer.

Read More
Cover Image for Tasting Challenge: Greek Assyrtiko

Tasting Challenge: Greek Assyrtiko

Assyrtiko wine originates from the famously beautiful island of Santorini. This week’s challenge will conjure sunshine and sunny beaches.

Read More
Cover Image for Tasting Challenge: Tawny Port

Tasting Challenge: Tawny Port

This week, we’ll be tasting Portuguese Port, and discussing the inhospitable region that’s led to this highly prized dessert wine.

Read More
Cover Image for Tasting Challenge: Austrian Zweigelt

Tasting Challenge: Austrian Zweigelt

What happens when red grapes are grown in the higher altitudes and cooler climates of Austria? This week we taste Austrian Zweigelt.

Read More