Five Ways to Learn More About Wine

Learning about wine is as fun as it is delicious. We often hear from fans – like Richard from California, whose photo and bottle story are below – that tasting Silver Oak encouraged them to get into wine. We couldn’t be more flattered.

Richard's bottle of the 2010 Silver Oak Alexander Valley

“My love for wine began in the mid-1990s. A close friend who had us over for dinner would always have stories about the wine served. It sparked my interest. He eventually took us to Napa Valley, and Silver Oak was the first winery I visited. I can still remember being nervous, not wanting to embarrass myself! I purchased a few bottles of the 1992 and 1994 vintages, which became my favorite wines when I opened them in the late ’90s. I still have fond memories of drinking them with friends, sharing stories of my first visit to Napa Valley.” – Richard, California

Whether you’re a wine novice or in need of a refresher, the tips below will inspire you to continue your wine journey.

  1. Hit the books: Was there ever a better excuse to study? Crack open a good ol’ book to start your education – while enjoying a glass of vino, of course. Some of our favorites are Hello, Wine and The 24 Hour Wine Expert. Take your studying to the next level and start a tasting group. Learn about (and enjoy) Riojas from Spain, Napa Valley Cabernet, wines with extended barrel aging, wines from older vintages. The possibilities are endless. Make the most of the evening by writing down a few notes about each wine and discussing your favorites with friends.

  2. Find a good wine shop/trusted merchant: There is no substitute for expert knowledge. Seek out a local wine shop, where the help of knowledgeable staff will have you wondering how you ever successfully navigated the grocery store wine aisle solo. What’s more, you’ll be introduced to new wine regions, new varieties, new styles.

  3. Visit a wine region: The next time you’re planning a get-away, put a wine region on your list. With wineries now in all fifty states, you might be surprised how many you find in your backyard. Talk with people behind the tasting bar, walk vineyard rows, tour the production area. The experience will not only teach you about the region, but develop your appreciation for all wines – and get you planning your next trip.

  4. Taste, taste, taste: Seek out tastings at your local wine shop and food and wine events. When at a wine bar, choose a tasting flight rather than a glass of wine. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a selection of wines from a particular region, wine style or vintage. You’ll learn what you like and discover nuances about wine like the effects of aging, climate, and fermentation. Remember, the more wines you taste, the more wines you’ll know.

  5. Book a dinner with wine pairings: Don’t be intimated by wine and food pairings. Instead, enjoy learning from the experts. Allow sommeliers and chefs to guide you through masterful flavor combinations at restaurants with prix fixe food and wine pairing dinners. Many wineries – like us – also offer food wine pairing experiences. Your taste buds will thank you.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process. We like to sum up that sentiment with one of our favorite sayings: “Life is a Cabernet!”

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