To some people the idea of drinking wine may seem a little intimidating. To an outsider, it might seem that there is a code of conduct or unwritten rules that only an exclusive group is aware of. When in fact, enjoying and drinking wine is really a casual experience that anyone can enjoy.
Drinking like a professional is a skill that is learned. Very few people have picked-up their first glass of wine and said, “it has an intense citrus aroma and a pale straw hue with excellent clarity. It is bright on the palette with definite hints of lemon and butter on the finish.” It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a wine simply because you like the smell and flavor. If you really start enjoying a lot of wine it may be nice to be able to pick-out the little nuances, but I recommend for the beginner, that you simply try as many bottles as possible. If you allow yourself to try different types of wines, from different regions and price ranges, soon you will see a pattern developing.
So where do you get all of this wine you now want to try? If you are lucky enough to live in a region with wineries, visiting them is a great way to step outside your comfort zone. Also, ask your friends what they are drinking. You can maybe start a wine night with them, where you all share your favorite bottles. Finally, visit your local wine shops. There is usually a professional there that can steer you in the right direction.
Just remember, the most important thing to do when drinking wine is enjoy it! Wine makers are creating wines for you to enjoy, not to make you feel anxious. One professional taster/wine maker I recently spoke with said, “when I am simply enjoying wine, I don’t care about what specific tastes or aromas I pick-up. All I care about is do I like it?” Wine is about specific tastes. You and your friends might not agree if a bottle is “good,” but it doesn’t matter as long as it is something that you enjoy.