Why Attend a Wine Tasting If I Know What I Like?The word habit represents a complicated notion. On the bright side, habits can make us more efficient. If you eat whole grains, yogurt, and fruit every morning, at least until it bores you, that’s one less decision that you have to make before you hit the road running. If you actually do run, say three times a week, you avoid the time it takes to make the decision about whether or not to do it, because muscle memory wakes you up at the appointed hour, makes sure that your shoes are on, and propels you out of the house. That said, the dark side of habit is that it eliminates a whole range of stimulation and experience. Your comfort zone can be a prison, even where wine is concerned.

Since you are members of this wine club, you continually taste different wines, even if you receive just whites or just reds, just Californian wines or just Italian, let alone a combination. So you don’t have an embedded bias for or against Chardonnay, let’s say, or Merlot. And many people do. I hear it all the time. “Could you send him just Pinot Noir for three months because that’s all he drinks?” Well no, I can’t. But I can send him wines that have some of the same qualities as Pinot Noir. Given the price of wine and its infinite variety these days, you can see how a habit could be created. No one wants to dump a bottle of wine, for which he or she just paid a couple of larger bills. Long gone is the time when people simply drank what they made or what others in their area produced. The global world requires a global consciousness.

But even if you do drink a wide range of wines, including what you receive from me, you may be restricting yourself to a particular price range. If you’ve never been to a big wine tasting, grab some friends and try it. For a nominal fee, not only is it a convivial occasion, but you can taste an enormous range of wines, all types and prices, and you can ask the person who pours any question that comes to mind. You’ll leave with some distinct ideas about what you’ve tasted that could influence what you purchase for your home or in restaurants. The bigger the tasting, the more you will spit and dump in the buckets provided if you want to walk out of the event on your own two feet, let alone drive.

If you live in a large city, the wine-tasting road show will come to you. Here in San Francisco, I get invitations to attend what seems like a wine-tasting a week, Italian, German, French, Spanish tastings, tasting events from New Zealand, or Californian tastings that concentrate on Zinfandel or Rhone wines, or Family Winemakers for instance. And then all of the wine regions in California conduct tastings, which usually take place in the communities where the wines are made, Sonoma, Napa, Monterey, to name just a very few of the wine producing counties in California. You won’t find this number or variety of tastings anywhere else in the U.S. But other than the wine tastings that these trade organizations present, big retailers offer tastings and even smaller ones might. You could have a wine bar in your community that you’ve ignored. So if you want to break some old habits and create some new ones, the year is still young. Google “wine tasting” in your community and see what comes up.