Continuing on my last article about the anti-wine list motto, I was thinking of supporting a “Drink Wine Differently Challenge” in 2023. I started with thinking of a “Better Drinking January” but that would be a bit too judgemental and biased as I cannot really claim to know which are the better wines to drink. Wine is a question of taste as I have mentioned many times before. However, my thought is to challenge ourselves to choose wines outside our comfort zones. Many of us are probably often choosing the same type of wines made with the same grapes because if we find something we like it is easy to continue drinking more of that. I wanted to challenge you to try five different ways of selecting which wines to buy.
Here, I am not talking to my fellow wine writers and professionals because we are fortunate to be able to taste a wide range of wines every year. As wine professionals, we have the great opportunity to explore many different types of wines and grapes from all over the world at wine events and tastings. It is true, of course, that wine professionals also have their favorites just as any everyday wine drinker. So, in the end, the challenge is directed at everybody.
My five “Drink Wine Differently Challenge” steps are:
- Choose wine from Another country/Another continent
- Choose wines made with different grapes
- Choose wines with another winemaking style
- Choose wines from artisanal vs large-brand wineries
- Choose environmentally conscious wines
Choose Wine from Another country /Another continent
This can be tricky depending upon where you live but, still, I think it is possible to make smaller shifts in how you select which wines to buy. Let’s say you mainly drink wines from France, then why not start trying wines from Austria or Spain instead? And, if you mainly drink wines from the US, why not start choosing wines from South America or Australia instead?
I challenge you to try the opposite of which country/countries you normally drink wines from.
Choose Wines Made with Different Grapes
The strategy is the same as above if you usually drink a lot of wine made with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other French grapes then start trying wines made with completely different grapes. Why not choose wines made with Riesling, St. Laurent, or Portugieser, or why not Fetească Neagră from Moldova or Romania? Other options could be Piedirosso from Campania in Italy or perhaps Xinomavro from Greece. For Turkish grapes, see Andrea Lemieux’s website.
There are so many options to choose from, the decision is up to you.
Choose Wines with Another Winemaking Style
There are fascinating options to choose from here too, just as I mentioned in my last article. If you like to normally drink young wines made in steel, why not try wines matured in oak or amphora? If the opposite is the case, that you mainly drink wines – both white and red wines – fermented and/or matured in barrique or other types of barrels why not try wines matured in cement or ceramic vessels? Why not try wines matured in big casks versus small barrels or even try different kinds of wood barrels? You can even start by choosing to drink wine that has similar characteristics to the wines you are used to. If you like full-bodied red French wines you could try an Aglianico wine from Irpinia in Campania, for example.
The important thing is that you challenge yourself.
Choose Wines from Artisanal vs Large-Brand Wineries
The possibility to challenge yourselves to this alternative also depends on where you are located and the accessibility to wine shops and online delivery. However, you should be able to almost always find wines from some smaller artisanal wineries. In this case, I am, of course, favorable to smaller artisanal wineries from lesser-known areas. However, my idea is here mainly to get an opinion about the difference between larger more commercial, or industrial wines and artisanally made wines. If you generally drink wines from large brands because they are easy to find then challenge yourself to find a small organic, biodynamic, or low-intervention producer.
Choose Environmentally Conscious Vs Conventional Wines
The last two alternatives are a bit biased, I admit that because I want to challenge you to make more ethical and environmentally conscious choices also when you buy wine. If you buy wine from large more industrial brands most of the time then challenge yourself to look for small organic, biodynamic, or low-intervention and sustainable wine producers. Why not even look for ethical wine producers? Well, it is true that wine remains an alcoholic beverage, still, we can make environmentally conscious and sustainable choices when we buy and drink wine.
Let’s start challenging ourselves
…this year to try different types of wines and learn more about wine at the same time. Let us also start supporting sustainable winemaking where we take into account not only being organic, biodynamic, or regenerative but also the choice of bottle weight, corks, packaging to minimize the carbon footprint, and much more.
Share your wine discoveries with me here or on my social media channels so we can all learn together.