Wine shouldn’t be intimidating

Jacqueline Zonkowski
Lifestyle grey Dot

Finding YOUR right wine whether its red, white or sparkling

If you are one of the many people who find wine intimidating, brace yourself because we’re going to break the stigma. First, take a deep breath and remind yourself that wine is meant for pleasure. Wine is not intimidating; in fact, quite the opposite. Wine is highly inclusive and welcoming, with options for everyone, regardless of what your stuffy colleague may say at a business dinner.   

Wine your way

The only opinion that matters when choosing a wine is the person who will be drinking it. The people that you are enjoying wine with are generally more important than the actual wine itself. So, if someone tells you to try a particular wine and you don’t love it, that’s ok. That doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you’re talking about; it just means your taste buds and your frame of reference are different. If you find a bottle you like, drink it unapologetically. Just remember, this is supposed to be fun! Frequently wine brings back memories of a time or place you enjoyed a glass, laughed with friends, or had a wine country adventure. 

Still nervous? Ask questions! 

The people who “know” wine had to start somewhere and often are eager to share what they know when asked. For beginners, it’s important not to get caught up in all of the things that can make wine a bit confusing, such as which grapes come from which country or region and what their “tasting notes” are.  

First things first—and this is the fun part—try a variety of wines. Try a few reds, a few whites, and see if you can find a couple you like. This will help you start the conversation with a sommelier if you’re at a restaurant or the manager at your nearest wine shop. Tell them what bottles you’ve tried, and enjoyed, then ask if they can recommend something similar. 

Self discovery – if you like Pinot Noir, compare a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with one from another region

If you’re not feeling very social and want to do some selecting of your own, that’s ok too. For instance, if you’ve tried and liked a Sonoma County wine like Pinot Noir from California, the next time you’re at the store or browsing online, try a Willamette Valley Pinot from Oregon, and then one from France, and see if you prefer one over the other. Then see if you can pinpoint any differences in flavors. Now you’re off and running on trying new wines and expanding your wine knowledge. It also helps to take pictures of wine labels that you like; this way, you have a point of reference and a reminder of what you liked just in case you finish the whole bottle!

If you’re interested in learning some of the basics, Rising Wines Collective offers a wide variety of educational content to help you feel more confident in your wine journey. We offer everything you need to understand and appreciate our wines, from our on-demand wine videos to winery pages and wine tasting notes. 

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About Jacqueline Zonkowski

As an avid traveler, Jacqueline started finding herself in popular wine regions around the world, fueling her passion for food and wine. When she isn't traveling you will find her at home with a glass of wine in hand and a smile on her face while tasting new recipes with her Chef husband. She received her WSET Level II Certification with Distinction, Argentina Wine Specialist, and Oregon Wine Expert certifications. Jacqueline has worked in the wine marketing and hospitality industry for many years. She continues to increase her wine knowledge and looks forward to creating her own wine one day.