Most people working in Restaurants, Hotels, Cruise Ships as Sommeliers/Wine Stewards, will agree that Wine is 5% Knowledge and 95% BS (Bull—t). I am here to tell you a surprising fact: The quickest way to learn more about Wine is not to read books or watch websites like mine (Although I hope you will), but to watch The Weather Channel or get to know what the weather patterns are from every area that produces Wine! Based on the fact that the formula for making Wine is Sugar + Yeast= Alcohol, it makes perfect sense, that just like a strawberry from a very Sunny area will Ripen quicker than a Wild Strawberry from a less Sunny and Cooler area, the riper the Strawberry, the sweeter it tastes! The same thing for Grapes, The ones from Hot Areas with more Sunshine ripen quicker and contain more Sugar than Grapes from Cooler Areas! With that knowledge, if you were to be hired as a Wine Steward of a 5 Star Restaurant, you could actually describe almost every Wine to a Customer even if you never tasted any of the Wines on the list, once you earn your BS Degree! For example, let’s say a guest in your hypothetical restaurant is trying to decide on a Chardonnay and questions you about the flavor profile of One From Australia and The Other From let’s say Oregon? If you know some fruit flavors Chardonnays most commonly contain (I hope you have read the How To Train Your Palate Article By Now so you will) then you just have to pull out your Weather Channel knowledge and your BS Degree. You automatically start thinking to yourself 1- Australia is closer to the equator and it is very Sunny with warm temperatures most of the year and 2- Oregon. Like most of the Pacific Northwest is cooler with a lot of overcast days etc. The Australia Chardonnay will contain more Sugar (See Above Reasoning) than the Oregon Chardonnay. Now, start thinking of Chardonnay type flavors that would be more Tropical or Riper, Sweeter Fruits as well as thinking of Chardonnay type flavors with less sugar or Crisp Flavors. You will then provide the BS Answer to the Customer that The Australian Chardonnay exhibits beautiful Tropical Fruit Flavors such as Pineapple, Mango, Coconut and is fuller bodied (More Sugar= More Alcohol= More Body) and The Oregon Chardonnay is a lighter style with Crisp Flavors of Granny Smith Apples, Bartlett Pears, With Underlying Lemon or Tangerine Citrus Notes. This is Total BS but I can guarantee you from my knowledge and my experience as a Restaurant Sommelier, if you use your Climate Deduction process as described here, you will be dead on with your description of wines 99% of the time and you’ve never tasted either one, all because you knew your Climate Chart!
Practice makes perfect and most colleges take you 4 years to earn any degree. If you want to learn about Wine 1- Put Down That Encyclopedia of Wine or Any Other Wine Book 2- Turn on the Weather Channel and 3- Purchase a Book on Climates around the World! Study hard, do your homework and Graduation Day will be here in no time at all. Just make sure you add to your Resume that you have a BS Degree in Wine…Class Dismissed!