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Grape Expectations: Simple Steps To Becoming A Wine Aficionado

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

With more and more research pointing to the health benefits of wine, the statistics and our holistic lifestyle has turned the DH and myself, two former beer drinkers, into avid wine enthusiasts.

Yet, we are “rarely” enthusiastic about trying something new. After all we are still learning and we know what we like, so why rock the boat.

Still, inhabitants of an Island replete with wineries, it’s almost “sinful” not to indulge our taste buds in more than just one or two varieties.

But, on the other hand, we want to make a “wise” investment. And, according to some savvy aficionados, even “novices” like us “can”.

· Think Big: If you’re identified some of your favorites, but are second-guessing a $30-something dollar bottle of vino, your best bet is using some common sense in saving some dollars and cents. This, more often than not means shopping at the larger discount beverage outlets and stores. But, if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for the selection and possible the lack of knowledge on each by the staff can be “discouraging”. Then of course there’s the issue of wine storage temperature. According to experts, larger (discount) outlets may not have temperature-controlled storage, and heat tends to damage wines.

· Go “Clubbing”: Experts suggest joining a wine club, perhaps with others who have similar interests so that you can experience different types of wines, narrowing what you like and what you don’t. They further suggest picking a monthly theme based on wine type and making a list of who is bringing what (to avoid duplicates), and serving selections up with complimentary crackers and cheese.

· Get Chummy With Clerks: Once you’ve found a brand or producer that you like, as well as a steady wine distributor, you may want to take the time to get to know and be nice to the staff. Let him or her know what you’ve tasted and what you like and ask for his or her assistance in helping you find similar selections. And, take cues from his or her recommendations as well.

· Have Fun: While wine has sometimes been stereotyped as part of an “elite”, “upper-crust” hobby, remember that even experts started out as novices. Don’t make enjoying wine an intimidating experience, instead look at the selection as you would the 31 flavors at Baskin Robins and allow yourself to be daring, dare we say different.

Long Island Travel & Leisure Articles > Grape Expectations: Simple Steps To Becoming A Wine Aficionado

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