Most people find wine intimidating because there is so much to learn. From blends, to vintages, to grapes. etc. Too much! But it can be a fun hobby/ journey for you to get started on. 

1. Start simple

I started in 2019 by buying wine I could afford. I started with boxed/ entry level wine. What is the wine in your local store? Also this is not a journey to get drunk or empty the bottles but to decipher and learn.

2. Get a wine journal

Write down notes that you get from wines you try. Is there a particular wine you liked? Why? Was it the taste? Was it the occasion? Which region was it from? Would you buy it again. Write the notes down.

3. Taste often

Expand your palate by going to the local market. Taste and smell exotic and indigenous fruits and berries. Taste and smell chocolate, coffee, spices. This will help you learn what you like. ie. acidic, earthy, sweet flavours etc. Also taste wine regularly.

When you taste fruits what do you lean towards? Sweet, sour, acidic, earthy, bitter, When you smell fruits what do you like? Sweet, buttery, floral, green acidic, ripe fruits Do you like spices. Knowing your palate help when wine tasting.

4. Look up events in your area.

Restaurants/ distributors do wine & food pairings dinners and events. I often post some so you can check this tag I started >> #wineinkenya I also post about wine events wrap ups here since 2013 thewineandfoodreview.com I also post on IG

5. Network

You can network in events, on social etc. Organise tastings, link ups, brunch etc. Network beyond your country too

6. When you go to restaurants, speak with the sommelier/ waitstaff.

I often select the dish I want and ask for a wine that could go with it. Here (2017 lol) at Seven Seafood & Grill they challenged me to try calamari with a red wine.

 

7. Learn online

Bookmark reputable wine resources like

etc. They have good info for beginners.

8. Learn how to read wine labels.

That can make your shopping experience better and faster.

See my resource here https://twitter.com/Jeanwandimi/status/1124605513965154304

9. Learn who are the stockists in your area.

Ie. in Kenya you can buy from the distributor directly, on-trade(bar and restaurant) or off-trade (grocery, independent retail, supermarket). Read more about where to get wine in Kenya

10. Learn how to taste wine.

This is how:

Set the stage- no perfume/ strong smells

  1. Serve- the right temp & glass
  2. Swirl- to aerate the wine
  3. See- Hold against white tile/paper
  4. Smell- Take a whiff
  5. Sip- Small sip at first
  6. Savour- Big sip after

See my video here

11. Learn beyond sweet wine

Stray from the notion that good wine should be sweet and that sweet wine is good wine. There is so much more wine to discover. There are so many more flavours that your tongue hasn’t tried.

12. Fall in love with food as well.

A great part of wine is knowing about food. And not just the food they list on those international wine pairing guides. Check out what local Kenyan recipes are like.

Celebrate the delicious range of fruits, vegetables, grains and food we have in Kenya. They always say that our fish, meat and fruits taste better. Pair that with you wine. Create your own recipes/ pairings.