I want to drink all of the wine. I want to try it all and learn about it all. I had the realization while driving to my friend's house one day last Winter, when we were still allowed to go inside of our friends' houses without fear of transmitting the plague, that I was never going to be able to try all of the wine I wanted to try just by having a glass here and there on the weekends. There are countless types of grape varieties that can be turned into wine (well over 1,000 according to a random internet search), there are so many different places that the grapes can be grown, there are even more producers turning the wonderful grapes into a delicious wine. All of these factors make unique types of wine and make it pretty much impossible to try it all. Not to mention that every year weather has an impact on grapes and the wine those grapes produce, so even if I could try every grape varietal from all of the many regions made by all of the different producers, I would still not truly have tried all of the wines of the world, because each vintage is also different. You can see my dilemma.
I know sommeliers have a method of trying a wine and spitting it out before ingesting it, which would solve my problem to some extent; however, I have two issues still. One, is I have not yet perfected this method of tasting and I have a hard time discerning flavor in the wine without actually swallowing it. The second issue is that I would still need to purchase bottles of wine that I want to try, even if I just want to try one sip, and this would be quite an expensive undertaking.
So, I am driving along having all of these depressing thoughts about how there is too much wine beyond my reach, and then I have an aha moment. I could make a wine club! I could invite all of my wine-loving friends and acquaintances and each of us could bring a bottle of wine to share. Although there are apparently people who do this all over the world, it truly had never occurred to me before this moment.
I thought it would be fun to pick a theme for each monthly wine club get-together. So one month we could try wines from Spain, then the next month we could try Cabernet Sauvignon from South America, and the next month we could go with Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, etc. Each person could bring a different bottle representing the theme and then we would be able to share the bottle by each having a small taste of each wine. So this is what I did. I found more wine-loving friends than I even imagined I might have and I hosted a monthly wine club in my dining room. It was literally everything I had hoped for and more. For two months. And then it was the COVID-19 pandemic and wine club died.
People suggested we move the club online and of course there is merit to this idea, since it would still provide a forum for learning about wine and tasting wine with all of the camaraderie the club has to offer; however, I still would not get to my goal of trying as many different wines as possible, because I would not be able to try everyone else's bottles over a Zoom call. Disappointment.
Why do I even want to try all of the wine? Well, first of all, if 2020 hasn't already answered that question for you, you are a lucky person. Second of all, I have this unexplainable passion to learn about wine. I don't really know where it came from. When I first came of drinking age, I was not a huge fan of wine, actually. However, as I started trying more and more wines, I started to enjoy them more and more. I also started to love the idea that there are so many types of wine, because even if I am drinking wine for all occasions, I can choose a different wine to fit my mood, or the food I am eating, or the ambience of the room, etc; it gives me limitless options.
What really got me hooked, though, was wine tasting at the many vineyards and wineries in my home state of Connecticut. Even though Connecticut is not necessarily famous for its wine, it should be. Many grapes grow well in the cool climate, including riesling and the Cayuga grape invented at Cornell University specifically to thrive in the cold. I love being immersed in the entire experience of drinking wine in a vineyard, surrounded by the beautiful grapes and grapevines.
That got me motivated to learn more about grapes, how they grow, and how they become wine, so I started reading all of the books I could find on the subject. The more I learned about viticulture (the science of growing wine grapes), the more I wanted to know. I also started to become interested in how wine making and drinking have evolved with the human species over time and how you really can't study human culture without including wine; it is so closely tied to our rituals and traditions. Out of nowhere, from all of this reading, I discovered this passion for wine that I didn't even realize was inside of me. That being said, it's really hard to read about wine grapes and wine making from all over the world and not want to try it all to put a face to the name, so to speak.
I also discovered that I love sharing this passion I found with other people. It makes me sad when I hear people say at a party (again back when parties were allowed to be a thing) that they'd love to know more about wine, but they are intimidated to learn. I think this is fairly common, because it can be overwhelming to start learning about a subject that experts have very strong opinions about. It can also be an expensive gamble to buy wine to try if you don't feel like you know what you are looking for or what you might like and I get that. I was totally one of those people, until I started learning about it. Now, I can't stop talking about wine, even though I have so very much more to learn, and people are surprised that I didn't always love it. The best way to learn about wine, if you are interested, really is just to taste as much as you can. You will be surprised to find how quickly you will start to learn what you like and what you don't, which will ultimately decrease your risk of buying a wine you hate.
That leads me back to where this story all started: I want to drink all of the wine. I also want to share it all with you. I hope you will join me on my journey. Although the pandemic has slowed my pace down for now without my wine club fueling the journey, I am still tasting and learning every chance I get; hopefully I inspired you to do the same. Thanks for reading!
Owner of Anomaly Wine Tours, LLC