If you’ve made any resolutions so far, I’m guessing that a few are already broken. You’re swearing off sweets? Put down that chocolate chip cookie! You renewed your gym membership? GO! But don’t let the valet park your car when you arrive… You vowed to clean out the garage? Just DVR the football game and get started. But wait…these grandiose plans are admirable, but almost impossible to achieve because, well, they’re boring! (Cue the loud yawn.)
How about this? I propose five resolutions for the new year that are deliciously fun, social, and easily attainable. Why? All pertain to our favorite beverage: wine. What’s not to love about that? So, have another cookie, go to the gym next week, ditch the garage cleanup for now, and read on. The most difficult part of these resolutions is deciding which to keep first!
Visit a New-to-You Wine Region
Whether you’re fortunate enough to live close to wine country (hello, all of my California and Virginia friends) or must travel (like me), there are more regions to explore and distinctive wines to discover. Winemakers in every wine region around the world are proud of the wines they produce, those that reflect a unique sense of place.
Have you tasted wine in the Santa Maria Valley (CA), Livermore (CA), Paso Robles (CA), the Willamette Valley (OR), the Finger Lakes (NY) or Lake Chelan (WA)? Virginia wine country is not to be missed, British Columbia boasts incredible vistas and unique wines, and Lodi (CA) is a magical place. International destinations to add to your list include wine regions in Tuscany (Italy), the Rhone Valley (France), Champagne (France), Murcia (Spain), Sicily (Italy), and much more.
The possibilities are endless and the experiences you’ll have while traveling will be second to none. It’s time to plan that wine country getaway.
Discover a Local Wine Shop
All of us need a shop where we can find that perfect bottle of wine. But sometimes locating that special place can be more frustrating than choosing that bottle!
Take time to visit a few local wine shops (and I don’t mean “big box” or grocery stores). Is there a variety of wines in a range of styles? Have you met the manager/wine director and, most importantly, do you trust his or her recommendations and judgment? Do you feel comfortable there? Is the staff friendly and helpful? Is there a tasting area where you can sample some wines? Once you find a local wine shop that meets all of your needs, make it your go-to place.
Read a Book About Wine
Fiction or non-fiction, there are a plethora of books written by experts in the field and readily available for you to be informed, entertained, and inspired. Some of my favorites include The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeleine Puckette and Justin Hammack, Saving Grapes by J. T. Lundy, A Perfect Score by Craig and Kathryn Hall, Vertical by Rex Pickett, Hungry for Wine by Cathy Huygue, and The Thirsty Dragon by Suzanne Mustacich. For the ultimate wine geek (yes, that’s me), Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson is one of my favorites.
Taste One New Grape Variety Each Month
This is the easiest resolution of all!
White wine lovers may appreciate Chenin Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Albarino, Sherry, Viognier, or Vermentino. You prefer red wine? Have you tasted Carmenere, Tannat, Nero d’Avola, Monastrell, or Cabernet Franc? You’re a Champagne lover – fabulous! Now pop the cork from a bottle of Cava, Franciacorta, or Cremant.
Follow the links to my recommendations or chat with those you trust at your local wine shop for more unique grape varieties and producers.
Visit a Restaurant and Ask for a Wine You Know Nothing About
What could be more fun than resolving to dine out and try a new wine? Make a reservation at your best-loved restaurant that has a good wine list or choose a wine bar you’ve always wanted to frequent. Throw fate to the wind! (I dined at Autre Monde near Chicago not too long ago and tasted orange wine for the first time.) Ask your dinner companion or sommelier to choose the wine or simply close your eyes and point to one on the list. Who knows what tantalizing wines await?
You’ve accomplished each of these resolutions already? Congratulations!! 2017 is getting off to a delectable start…now you can tackle that garage.
Cheers! ~ Cindy