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Food & Wine

Wine Newbie

June 8, 2012

I’ve never been a big wine drinker – I was never keen on the taste and red wine often gives me headaches. Apparently, that’s because of the histamines. Who knew? I’ve always loved the idea of wine, though. I would see complicated wine lists and wonder about them, I would visit the wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake and think about doing tastings. But it all seemed so complicated – so big and vast and unknowable. I stuck with my martinis.

But during our trip to Ireland last summer I started ordering wine. It just seemed easier than cocktails there – it was something simple that every place had on the menu. Turned out, there were a lot of wines that I tried and liked. I took photos of the little bottles they would bring to the table and looked for those varieties at home. Then I started looking at what was available at the LCBO and at the Gourmet Food and Wine Show. As it turns out, I do like wine – I just hadn’t been drinking the right kinds.

It may seem weird to include wine in a healthy-living blog as well as in a lifestyle pushing to be healthier, but I think it’s been a great addition. There is a lot less sugar in wine than in the cocktails I’ve usually gravitated towards and it’s far easier to order a glass of wine and sip that over dinner than to order more easy-drinking cocktails that sometimes go down too easily. Plus, there is so much to learn about wine.

I turned to the Twitter community to ask my initial questions and have opened up an amazing resource – there are wineries, sommeliers, marketing people, groups, bloggers, and just plain fans. They have taught me so much and welcomed me so warmly as I stumble through. I’ve participated in #CabFrancTues and learned that if I just have one glass of red it won’t give me a headache. I’ve booked winery visits, learned about different kinds of grapes and been invited to wine-centric events. I have also learned a lot about the complicated legalities behind wine sales through following the #freemygrapes hash tag.

I’m nowhere near an expert (not sure it’s even possible with all there is to know), but I’m learning every day and even considering taking a course at one of the local colleges. I still don’t drink a lot, as I think it’s all about moderation, but when I do I like to try new varieties of VQA, pick out interesting flavours and choose based on levels of dry-sweet. Things I never even considered before. And the amazing community on Twitter is there to help me out if I have questions (even when they’re dumb ones) or need recommendations for wines to consider.

Are you a wine fan? I’d love to hear about your favourites!