Forget diving into a WSET course or attending a one day seminar at a local restaurant or wine shop. If you want to learn about wine the key is to educate yourself a little bit every day. We’ll tell you the sites, YouTube channels, and podcasts to check out along with some other tips to help you develop your knowledge of wine in just a few minutes a day. While none of these hacks will prepare you for a WSET or MW level course, they will make you the wine expert among your group of friends, unless you hang out with a bunch of sommeliers.
Read All About It
There are plenty of great books out there about wine but in today’s world most of us gain our knowledge from websites that are written in a way that packs a dense informative punch in a short amount of time. We’ll give you some books at the end, but these are the websites to check out for a daily dose of wine knowledge.
1. Wine Folly
If you’ve ever been smitten with a wine-related infographic, chances are it was created by Madeline Puckette. Puckette is a certified sommelier and the face of Wine Folly. Head over to the site and click the “learn” tab at the top and start with the first article on 8 types of wine. From there read an article a day and you’ll start learning at a rapid pace everything you need to be more than a casual drinker.
The site is beautifully organized, easy to navigate and includes a blog for up to date articles – sign up to receive the weekly newsletter – it’s one of the few you’ll actually see and open immediately!
In addition to articles, there are great resources, including the Wine Folly book, posters, and informative videos. The site provides a great dose of humor and zero snobbery.
2. Wine Turtle
The new kid on the block is offering a little something for everyone from educational pieces on the major types of grapes to recipes for how to ferment pretty much anything organic into wine. Wine Turtle also offers a basic wine course (casual, not for certification) and occasionally runs contests where you can win wine-related tools.
3. Best Wine Clubs
That’s right – we’ll ante up and tell you that our blog offers some great wine education. Check out our Wine 100 series to start learning the basics of wine. Once you get those, move on to our Wine 200 articles and deepen your knowledge. We’re not just wine clubs – we’re also here to help you better understand the wines you get in a way that’s unpretentious, interesting, and digestible.
Video Killed The Radio Star
How does a bill become a law?
If your automatic response involved the video below, you might want to consider learning about wine through videos.
Without going too deeply into it, there are all kinds of learners and while traditional learning has been text-based, many people need more. They need to see, or to hear. Some need to move. Video allows more people to learn in a way that is accessible to them and this is why YouTube tutorials are so incredibly popular. And YouTube tutorials aren’t just for hair and makeup anymore. There are some great channels that will help you learn about wine, too!
4. 3 Minute Wine School
The Wine and Spirit Education Trust, or WSET, is known throughout the wine world for offering certification in wine and spirit expertise. It also offers a three minute wine school on YouTube. There are 21 videos that last about three minutes each and feature some of the biggest names in the wine world.
5. WineBird’s Vinalogy
It’s hard to describe this series of videos from Britain’s Helena Nicklin. Were you to stumble across one late at night you might think it’s a David Lynch short film, but Nicklin, the Wine Bird offers a great explanation and we can tell you that since watching the series for the first time Cabernet is, for us, “A rugby player with a mint leaf covering his rude bits carrying a black currant instead of a ball.” And now it will be for you. You’re welcome.
6. Ask A Winemaker
This YouTube account has a LOT to offer, but skip the rest when you’re thinking about learning about wine and jump into the 73 videos offered in their playlist, “Wine Education 101”. You’ll learn about wine and grapes from the people who know them best: the winemakers who select them and ferment them into styles you know and love and those you skip over on a wine list because you’re not sure what the heck they are.
Stop, Children, What’s The Sound?
Podcasts are the new radio and offer a LOT of options. This includes podcasts for those who want to learn more about wine. Haven’t jumped onto the podcast train just yet? Feel like it would be boring or that you don’t have time to set aside to listen? Podcasts are great for busy people! If you’re an athlete, try downloading a few to your iPod to listen to at the gym or on a run. Do you commute? Supplement music with podcasts in the car, on your bike, or on the train.
7. Wine For Normal People
This monthly podcast offers real, straight talk for those who want to know more about wine without feeling put down. You can listen in order, jump in now, or scan their library for episodes you think will interest you. You can find their entire catalog here. Industry folks, bloggers, and other experts are regularly brought onto the show which keeps things interesting and allows you to get a taste of some of the world’s wine personalities.
8. Tasting Room Radio
Terry David Mulligan brings together a mix of personalities to discuss everything wine: making it, drinking it, pairing it. Tasting Room Radio brings in a good variety of information while maintaining a conversational tone and averaging about 45 minutes per episode – a good, digestible amount.
9. The Vincast
Host James Scarcebrook, The Intrepid Wino, updates weekly with voices from the wine world and a look at not just wine as a drink, but the culture of wine – interesting for those who want an education in wine without getting into a program and worrying about certifications and tests and the rest. A good mix of fact, perspective, culture and industry talk.
Turn The Page
Whether you learn by reading, watching, or listening we’ve put together a great list of ways to use the internet to get your wine education started. Looking for sources for wine knowledge outside of the Internet? Here are some great analog resources.
10. The Wine Bible
This is the resource for those who want to know about wine. Written by Karen McNeil, the book covers everything a great course in wine would while also being beautifully written. McNeil doesn’t just know everything about wine, she also writes in the brilliant manner – making this a page turner. Whether you skip through by regions or decide to read it from beginning to end, you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of wine as well as some quick and dirty tips.
11. Wine Folly: The Essential Guide To Wine
There’s a reason this is a bestseller on Amazon. Madeline Puchette and Justin Hammack bring the genius of their award-winning site, Wine Folly, into a colorful, easy to use guidebook on wine. You’ll get 40 pages of the fundamentals presented in Madeline’s distinct style in the front. Next up is an introduction to styles of wine and grapes — this is a great friend to enjoy a glass with! Really, you’re not drinking alone if you’ve got this book with you. After the grapes the book delves into wine regions.
These two books are the only two you need in your wine library — keep them accessible, read them, fold the pages, highlight — they are definitely books to be used and read rather than left on the shelf or coffee table.
What’s your favorite resource for learning about wine? Which of our suggestions are you likely to try? Let’s continue the conversation below and on Facebook!