January presents us with a blank page, an opportunity to reinvent ourselves with the new year, or perhaps less drastically, to set up new goals to help us go where we want to go in life; hence, wine resolutions!
When it comes to wine, whether you are just dipping your toes in the ocean or are a veteran sailor on its waters, 2017 offers you the chance to learn, to discover and to enjoy more. If you’re looking for inspiration to define some new year’s wine resolutions for wine enthusiasts, have a look and make them your own!
1. Meet more wine lovers
Meeting people with a common interest is an excellent way to make new friends and re-energizing your social life. Wine lovers in particular tend to be a very sociable crowd and thanks to the many activities revolving around wine through the year, you’ll soon start to recognise familiar faces. Attend to tastings, wine fairs and other events and talk to people, your next BFF (or why not, the love of your life) might be sitting right next to you.
More inspiration? Have a look at our events section to find out about upcoming wine and food events.
2. Swap quantity for quality
The key to win the long game when it comes to wine is moderation, and enjoying a glass of something remarkable beats a bottle of mediocrity any day. If you spent a certain amount on wine every month, try to get at least one or two bottles above your usual budget even though that might mean you’ll reduce volume a little bit. If you go big and get something really luxurious or are considering to seriously up your wine game, it might be a good idea to get a Coravin so you can try these beautiful bottles by the glass without having to finish them straight away.
More inspiration? Check out our tips on how to navigate a wine sale to spot the best value around.
3. Visit a vineyard
Wine tourism ranges from the surprisingly affordable to the truly prohibitive but no matter if you are taking a cheap flight and a B&B or flying first class and staying in a 5 star; once you’re in a vineyard, the landscape will be the same and the experience of visiting a winery will certainly leave you with magical memories and probably, with some tasty souvenirs too.
More inspiration? Read our Rioja Travel Guide and find out how to visit 7 wineries in 48 hours.
4. Take a WSET course
The Wine and Spirit Education Trust is a prestigious organisation that offers qualifications and courses in wines and spirits with presence in over 70 countries. If you’re thinking about a career in wine this will be a respected accreditation, but it is also common to take the classes for personal enjoyment. There are different levels according to your expertise and your course provider will gladly advise you on where to start.
More inspiration? Read our WSET Level 2 Course Review and find out more about the experience.
5. Broaden your palate
If you know what you like, that’s grand, but don’t let your favourite bottles become a fence that separates your from discovering new regions and grape varieties that might surprise you. This is one of the most enjoyable wine resolutions you can make, start with what you know you enjoy and try to find wines with similar characteristics but perhaps a bit less mainstream; for example, if you like Pinot Grigio, try Albarino or Godello, if you drink Chardonnay, explore Viognier or Chenin Blanc.
More inspiration? Try Greek wines, they’ve become more widely available and are very interesting!
6. Become a regular at a good wine shop
Adding a bottle of wine to your shopping trolley is quite convenient, but every now and then, skip the wine aisle and get your bottle at a dedicated wine shop. Not only the knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you discover interesting wines and often exclusive bottles that you can’t find in a supermarket, once you become a regular, they’ll keep you posted on tastings and activities, and some such as O’Briens offer a really handy loyalty card program. You don’t need to be there every other day for them to remember you, but try and talk to the sales assistants, and don’t rush it, take your time and ask for they advise.
More inspiration? Keep an eye on our Wine of Week reviews for tried and loved suggestions worth discovering.
7. Start or grow a wine library
Reading about wine is the second most enjoyable way to learn about it and as you build your own wine library, you’ll be able to learn at your own pace and always have reliable sources to go to when in doubt. A good wine library should include The World Atlas of Wine, an up to date wine guide with bottles available in your country and a good mix of books on key regions as well as wine styles (i.e. sparkling, biodynamic, etc). Novels and literary works where wine plays an important role are also a great addition.
More inspiration? You can start with a few of Infinite Idea’s Classic Wine Library collection.
8. Host a home wine tasting
Polish your hosting skills as well as your wine knowledge with a wine tasting evening at home. It will certainly take less effort to put together than a dinner party, and you can agree on a theme and encourage your guests to bring a wine. Ideally, try to get between four to seven bottles as less than that won’t let you appreciate much and more would get palates tired. If you feel like going big, dare to put together some wine pairings and prepare of buy dishes to match the different wines. This is great because it will help you achieve your other wine resolutions too!
More inspiration? Read our interview with Master Sommelier Dimitri Mesnard for some insight on the current food and wine pairing trends.
9. Keep a tasting diary
Writing things down is an excellent way of memorising. When it comes to wine, keeping a diary of the bottles you’ve tried will soon give you your own personal database and will help you remembering what you liked so finding it again will be easier (and it will also come handy when you are looking for something specific and you ask a shop’s staff for help). Write down the name of the wine, the winery, the vintage and your tasting notes, you can also add in the place you drank it, as this will help you link the glass to an experience.
More motivation? You can start by trying some of the best bottles we’ve tried in 2016, and don’t forget to take notes!
10. Start a personal wine collection or organise your existing one properly
Instead of rushing to a shop every time you want to open a bottle of wine, wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal selection waiting for you at home? You don’t need a huge amount of space to start a decent wine collection nor they have to cost you an arm and a leg (in fact, many wine shops will offer you special prices for mixed cases so you can mix and match and drink them slowly at home). If you’re thinking about starting your own cellar, make sure you keep your wines in a cool area (controlled temperature of around 15 degrees for long term storage) and place your bottles with cork on their sides. If you already know your wine-keeping 101, it’s time to take it to the next level. Make -or update- your inventory, tag your bottles and if you haven’t done it by now, arrange your bottles in a way that suits you (by vintage or by region are popular organising criteria).
More inspiration? Discover the wine trends we expect to see more of in 2017, and make sure to grab a few bottles that reflect them.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.