How to learn about wine

You don’t need to know a lot about wine in order to enjoy what’s in your glass however learning a little more can help you understand or diversify your taste. 

If you’re looking to up your wine game, here are some places you might want to start: 


Books: 

There are hundreds of wine books out there, but if you’re new on your wine journey, these books are worth checking out:

  • The World Atlas of Wine, by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson: A must-have for all winelovers. The book gives a solid overview of the winemaking regions across the globe. It’s regularly updated to reflect changes in the ever-changing wine world.

  • Wine Folly The Master Guide: This book is great for visual learners as it is full of graphics and charts explaining grapes, regions and styles and has a great wine and food pairing chart. It helps you get out your wine rut by suggesting other grapes or wines based on wines you enjoy drinking.

  • Cork Dork, by Bianca Bosker: The fascinating journey of a journalist turned sommelier. Bosker takes her readers into the world of elite sommeliers and their obsessions. It’s an interesting read into just how crazy the wine industry can be.

  • Steffen Maus' Italiens Weinwelten: An essential work for German-speaking lovers of Italian wine. Gorgeous photography and a lot of information on each region of Italy, including history and food culture.
  •  Amber Revolution by Simon Woolf : if orange wine is your thing, this is a must-read. "How the world learned to love Orange wine" explores the roots of this rediscovered style of wine and gives recommendations on how to find the best producers.  

Instagram Accounts:

We love accounts that don’t just talk about specific wine labels but offer general background on wine and wine culture. Our favourites include: 

Hannah is a British wine consultant, educator and events host specialised in French wine. She makes great three-part posts on aspects of wine and wine-tasting and loves to offer some fun snack and film pairing suggestions.  

Renee Sferazza is a sommelier, wine communicator and host based in Canada. She focuses on wines available locally but her posts also break down the world of wine into simple sips, one glass at a time. 

The design-centric website WineFolly and IG handle founded by sommelier and designer Madelaine Puckett are great places to start learning about wine if you prefer graphics over text.  


Wine Blogs and Websites:

One of the best online resources has got to be VinePair. Aimed at curious Millennials, it gets pretty deep on just about every aspect of wine. 

PUNCH, is a website with stories on wine, cocktails, beer and spirits. They connect these beverages to tradition and place, innovation, and fun, too.

The grande dame of wine, Jancis Robinson, has gathered an impressive team of experts who write really informative articles for her website JancisRobinson.com. Most of the articles are behind a paywall, but if you want to get serious about wine, a membership to her Purple Pages is a good investment. 


Courses:

If you want a wine qualification, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses are the best place to begin. Their Level 2 is a good start to understanding wine and their "systematic approach to tasting". Level 3 is a much higher level and is a necessity if you want to work in the business. Both courses can be taken online, with a physical exam close to where you live.

Passionate about Italian wine? You might want to check out the Italian wine Scolar course created under the Wine Scholar Guild. They offer online and in-person courses and exams and similar qualifications for French and Spanish wines and masterclasses that delve into well-known regions.   


Online Events:

Since lockdown, there's been an explosion in online wine tastings and events (yep - we're a good example!). Amber Le Beau, US-wine-blogger residing in Paris, was quick to jump on this and created Virtual Wine Events, with a full calendar of online wine events. Some are free, many include wines and most are US or UK based. 

If you're on the other side of the Channel or the Pond, of course we also host a range of online wine events open to winelovers across Europe as well as private groups. Quaranvino Dinner Dates are hosted by winemakers, giving you the chance to interact with the person who made the wine you have in your glass. If you're looking to swirl, sniff and slurp a few different wines, Three of a Kind sessions with our wine expert Fred Nijhuis dive deeper into a specific style or grape.

To see what we have coming up, check out our Online Wine Tasting Tickets page.

Know any others you love and would recommend? pop them in the comments!  

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