I Don’t Hate Your Wine! Tips from A Pro on How to Break Your Wine Rut

I’m a wine rep for a local distributor. Prior to this career, I was a partner at a small wine shop where I helped customers every day pick out a wine to take home. I’m also a Certified Specialist of Wine. I’ve been reading about, studying, talking about, and drinking wine for a while now. I’m pretty confident saying I know a little about wine.  

I’m often told by people that they were afraid to tell me their favorite wine. Like somehow I wouldn’t approve. Seriously, I don’t care if your favorite wine is a sweet Moscato named after a miniature dessert, or a red blend coming from a former penal colony site. I love finding other people who love wine! It’s a great way to start a conversation or to connect with someone new.   

I classify myself as an equal opportunity wine drinker:  I’ll try anything once. Sweet botrytis wine, dry sherry, white port, Amarone, all wine I’m happy to say I’ve experienced, although I’ll likely never drink them again. For me, it’s not the wine you chose last weekend that gives me pause, it’s the fact that you keep choosing the same wine over and over again!

I hear “I only drink sweet/dry wine” or “I only drink X brand of wine” a lot. And while I appreciate your right to drink what you like, I can’t help but wonder what else have you tried? I want to try ALL OF THE WINE. And I want to encourage you to do the same thing. With thousands of wine labels coming into our local retailers and restaurants, it seems a shame to stop after finding one you like. Now is as good a time as any to break free from your wine rut and give the whole wide wine world a look!

Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

Go one to the left or one to the right of your usual. Stand directly in front of your go-to wine at your retailer and try its neighbor instead. Likely this will keep you in the same sweetness/dryness level but allow you to try a wine from a different winemaker. Or, this method could open your eyes to a different varietal of wine from a winemaker you already trust.

Make a list of goal wines. Look up Wine Folly’s “Common Types of Wine” to get you started. Or make your own list by walking up and down the wine aisles at your local retailer and writing down all of the bottles that look interesting to you, either because of their cool bottle art or because of what’s inside. Look over menus and see what you can order by the glass or ask at your next dinner out if they offer wine tastings or wine flights. Work your way through your list one bottle at a time. You might be surprised at what you learn you like.

Ask your retailers or servers for a recommendation. Wichita has a lot of knowledgeable people out there working with wine. A good retailer or server is trying new product all the time. And they are invested in YOU and your repeat business. Tell them what you love, what you’ve tried already, give them a price range, and let them guide you.

We tell our kids all the time that it’s good to try new things. This is true for wine as well as vegetables! You might find that instead of liking only one type or brand of wine, you actually like a lot more. So here’s to saying good-bye to wine ruts, to opening minds and hearts, to trying new things, to finding a new favorite wine. Cheers!


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