How to drink wine without looking dumb or going broke

Wine can be difficult. It comes into the room all puffed up and scholarly like your tweedy cousin who graduated from Yale and yammers endlessly about geography, horticulture, technique, and all the rest.

Shut up, Yale cousin. Nobody likes you or your sweaters. What most people want is something good in their mouths with the added benefit of a buzz. And though craft beer and cocktails are having their day, wine is about to rise again.

Brie Roland is the “wine whisperer” at the new and very trendy St. Genevieve, where wine takes center stage. Bill Summerville, the former sommelier at the late La Belle Vie, has a name so recognizable in local food circles that he’s practically his own brand.

I asked them both how we, the less learned, can joyously grab wine by the lapels and make it work for us, instead of the other way around:

If you had only one hour to convert a wine hater or neophyte, how would you go about doing it?

Summerville: Think of it like sex with a new partner. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. Sometimes it’s a good fit right away, sometimes it’s a learning curve. Yes, you have to pay attention, but ultimately that person is going to have to convince themselves if they like it. But I’d say if you have any sense of curiosity, wine shouldn’t be intimidating. It should be a path of discovery. An adventure. Read a little. Taste a lot. And take notes.


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