Wine Media For Everybody: Easy Ways to Learn About Wine

Two of the many wines sampled

My last post was really for the uber wine-geeks out there and I know most of you probably aren’t looking to go down the road of wine certifications. (Happily, I got a few messages from people looking to take the exams with questions—which is exactly who I was trying to reach, so yay!) 

I also know that a bunch of you are interested in expanding your wine knowledge, even if you don’t feel the need to beat your interest into the ground via endless hours spent reviewing index cards memorizing appellations, varietals, and obscure details. Nor should you ever feel that you need know all of that info to appreciate wine.  All you really need to know is whether you like the way a wine tastes.

For those of you that want go a little bit further though, I thought I’d make a short list of some favorite wine media that can serve as easy primers and maybe even help start you on your road to wine geekery.

Interested in taking a wine class, but don’t feel like leaving your house? The book to Kevin Zraly’s acclaimed wine course is a great place to start.  It has all the basics of what you need to know about all the major wine regions of the world, and even basics on tasting, pairing, and wine buying.

My little bro got me my copy as an x-mas gift when I was just starting to delve more deeply into wine and I still keep it around for a quick reference.

A few years ago, PBS aired a series on the basics of wine narrated by Ted Allen, from Chopped and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy.  Sadly, the series only lasted one season, but it’s fast-paced, unpretentious, and will get you through the basics of winemaking, tasting, California, and France, with some nice bits of history and travel tips mixed in. 

Since it’s been a few years, this one might harder to find on TV, but it is available on DVD on Amazon.  I’m actually re-watching now, and will probably make Greg watch the France episodes later this week.

Certified Somm/Certified Specialist of Wine Elizabeth Schneider hosts a podcast with her “Wine-Loving-Normal-Person” husband M.C Ice in which she walks listeners through the basics of all kinds of wine topics.  Each episode is like a quick, bite-sized lesson that you can take anywhere. 

She has some issues with wine magazines like the one I work at which I might gripe at, but there’s lots of good info here for wine lovers at all levels. I actually would listen to these while I was studying for my WSET Advanced Exam as a way to keep reviewing at times when I couldn’t be flipping flash cards or have my face in a book. At some point, I will also get my “Wine-Loving-Normal-Person” husband, Greg to listen to these as well. 

(Elizabeth also has a blog, which admittedly I have not really checked out yet, but I have no doubt that there’s lots of great info there as well.)

Maybe you just want to know what to drink with your dinner. This book works like a quick reference dictionary—you can look up a food or a wine and quickly find matches that are likely to work.  They also have an app, which is really convenient if you’re staring at shelves at the store or trying to figure out a wine list.

Don't underestimate this one.  I'm not going to lie, I use Wikipedia to look up wine questions all the time.  Curious about the Bordeaux Classification of 1855 or want to know where in Italy Amarone comes from? Query away—it’s up there.



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