It’s no secret that I love wine. None at all. I am, however, a complete noob when it comes to choosing it.

On one of our very first dates, in Cape Town, nogal, Frank took me to an amazing wine farm to do a little tasting. Completely blown away by his knowledge of squished grapes, I, embarrassed, just muttered that yes, I could smell the green peppers. In fact, that’s all I could smell, in all the wine. Often, it still is.

So, having learnt a few lessons during my many trips down the rabbit hole, I thought I’d share a few things for you in case, like me, you’re not quite sure what’s potting.

  • You’ll find lengthy descriptions online and fancy tones around dinner tables describing what you ‘absolutely must try’, but I find that those wines are often being mentioned to make the drinker seem, well, fancy, because they can afford the bottles in the first place. I’m not one for convoluted explanations, so I rely on my old buds. Like it, carry on. Don’t, don’t. Once you get a feel for what you like, this becomes a whole lot easier. I’m not much of a Cab Sav fan, for example. It just makes me feel like I’ve eaten cotton wool. It also helps if you are able to confidently ignore what you ‘must’ drink. Unless they’re buying. Then, by all means, give it a shot. But don’t be pressured to splurge when you’re perfectly happy with the taste of your R50 ($5) bottle of wine.

  • You’re an adult. If you want to have cheese and wine for dinner, you can.
  • The bigger the glass, the better. I prefer them thin, and soccer ball huge. Tasha’s is on the money with their glasses.

  • Want to impress a group of people? Go for the wine with the most stickers. This isn’t my trick, but it does work. Every time.
  • Stick with what you know. Find your ‘tribe’, and keep it close.
  • Every now and then, when it’s not going to give you regretsies, try out the expensive wine. It’s nice to have a point of comparison.
  • Red wine + tequila = memory loss. I’ve proven this theory, so you don’t have to try the combo out.
  • “I do” is a perfectly suitable answer for anyone asking if you like the wine you’re sipping on. No ‘tannens’ or ‘bouquets’ necessary. Although, if you do want to learn a term or two, this glossary of wine terminology is quite comprehensive.

Want to get serious about wine? Here are some handy resources.

Wine for Beginners

South African Wine for beginners

Cape Town Mag – A guide to wine tasting.

Ok, enough chit chat.


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