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3 Non-Wine Tips to Improve the Way You Talk About Wine

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Talking about wine, I'm convinced, is a big part of the intimidation factor.

So how can you get better at it? How can you improve the way you talk about wine, so that you'll feel more comfortable as you drink and, ultimately, enjoy the whole experience MORE?

I think it starts with being comfortable talking about the things you sense -- with your eyes, with your fingers, with your nose, even with your ears -- especially when those things are unrelated to your experience with wine.

It isn't hard to talk about the things you sense. It's just that you have to get in the practice of it. Not many of us are.

Here are a few non-wine tips to get you in the swing of things. With any luck, and consistent practice, they'll help hone your skills for your next chance to DRINK BETTER.

  1. When you walk into a room, immediately try to identify what you smell. Maybe it's roasting coffee beans. Maybe it's bleach. Maybe it's dirt, or polyester, or Kraft American cheese. You never know when the smell of a wine will remind you of something you've encountered before. Recognizing a wine's distinct smells may help you relate to it better. Build your "aroma vocabulary" in the meantime. 
  2. Once or twice a day, stop and focus -- really focus -- on something you touch. Try to describe it using four or five different adjectives. (More is even better.) Sharp. Icy. Slick. Leathery. Rough. Squishy. Ridged. It'll take you 30 seconds, but you'll have advanced your observation and descriptive skills just that much more.
  3. Sunrise and sunset have always been my favorite times of the day. Look to the sky -- at sunset, or at sunrise if you're up early -- and what you'll often see are gradations of color. Pick out two or three of them. The overriding color may be red but zoom in a bit and what you'll see is the difference between, say, rose and strawberry and fire engine reds. Practicing those distinctions will come in handy the next time you're swirling that Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.


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