I love wine. When I started learning about wine, I realized that I had been taking the world of wine for granted. It’s truly an art to make a wonderful glass of wine but it’s also a fascinating business when you trace the creation from the vineyard to the glass. Add to that the different varietals and the pairing of wine with food and you can see how and why some people devote a lifetime to the pursuit of a great glass of wine.
For me, it has been one of my great pursuits in retirement. I have wine every night. Almost exclusively. Don’t get me wrong, I like beer and alcohol as well, especially tequila and bourbon, but I absolutely love wine. It’s the ultimate retirement drink. It’s relaxing to pour a glass, sit and watch the sunset, and enjoy the intricacies of the contents of your glass. It doesn’t take much time to learn the difference and, more importantly, to discover what you like. Even better, it doesn’t have to be expensive. I have found some wonderful wines priced at less than $15 a bottle that I enjoy more than the wines priced at $80 or $100. I’ve enjoyed exploring this world and have found other people to share it with as well. Wine can be a great socializer.
For a long time, the world of wine was considered to be a rich person’s game. But, on learning about wine I have found that isn’t the case at all. When you drink it on a consistent basis, you’ll discover the different flavors of the grape and the impact of aging. You’ll discover the wine regions that appeal to you most and when you find a bargain, you can’t wait to share it with others. Combine wine appreciation and the art of pairing it with a great meal and you have a very enjoyable evening that can be shared with family and friends.
So, how do you start learning about wine? I think one of the great gifts of retirement is time and the way you spend it, so the most important requirement is already there. Next, you just start popping corks. The best way to start learning about wine is to drink it. Naturally, you want to drink responsibly and never drive while impaired, but wine in moderation has its roots in the Bible. There are books you can read and magazines you can subscribe to, but the best initial step would be to start slowly and experiment with a few inexpensive but good quality wines. Find out if there’s enough curiosity within you to pursue this as a hobby.
If you find you have enough interest to start learning about wines, you want to find a good source that will offer advice and be able to recommend some wines based on your preferences. If you have a good wine store in town, that’s perfect. If you don’t, there are some other options to explore. You can consider joining a wine club that will send you shipments each month and usually offer some labels and varieties that may not be offered in your typical wine store. I belong to First Leaf, and they have everything I need. With each wine they ship, I can rate them so they can start to know my preferences. Within a couple of months, they knew me better than I knew myself and I have found some of my favorite wines coming from there. Each wine comes with a profile on the wine, and they source vineyards from all over the world. If you love learning about wine, it’s a great way to explore this world without spending a lot of money. I have to admit, I had a great sense of satisfaction when I was serving a wine with dinner and a couple of our guests asked where we had purchased this wine. After explaining that they probably wouldn’t be able to find it in a store, I recommended the First Leaf Wine Club and said that they could get a discount on their first order. By the way, I get a similar discount for the referral and it’s one of the ways I can reduce my wine bill each month. When you’re retired, reducing costs is always a good thing. It makes learning about wine even more fun than it already is.
Of course, you can buy books and courses if you’re really serious and you can incorporate trips to vineyards into your short getaways and travel itineraries. Every state in the country has at least one vineyard and the local wineries are usually great places to go for a social occasion as well as to learn about the process. We live in the Hudson Valley in New York and there is actually a wine trail that you can explore. In the mid-seventies, while we were living on Long Island, the first winery opened up on the East End. The wine was surprisingly good but a little on the expensive side. Since that time, there are dozens of wineries, and the upstate area of New York has seen similar growth.
Learning about wine continues to be a hobby of mine. My wife enjoys very few wines but is fascinated by the process and the amount of work that goes into making a great glass of wine. It is a fascinating world, a great conversation starter and the perfect way to end each day. It’s time to Enjoy Retired Life!
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