How Not to be a Wine Snob

If you have ever met one, a wine snob is one of those rare creatures that can infuriate an entire roomful of people with just a look. Rarely identifiable by their outside appearance, the ‘wine snob’ looks like everyone else, until a bottle (or a box!) of wine is taken out. Then they become an intolerable pile of too much knowledge and not enough silence.

Alright, all humour aside, a wine snob can easily ruin any meal or party. Don’t let this be you.Here are a list of things to remember to avoid turning into one of these insidious and terrifying creatures:

1. All wines are a matter of taste – This is the most important rule. There are thousands of wines that cost a month’s salary that taste like vinegar to someone. If you prefer a red over a white, or fruity wine over a dry wine, those are your opinions. If the person with you likes a wine that has sugar and fruit flavourings added, that’s their preference. You don’t have to drink it, but don’t comment on it.

2. Price is not always a guide – Those of us who have made a career out of buying the inexpensive wines from Chile, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand have learned that there are some amazing wines that are very cheap. Your odds of a great wine increase with more money, but there are many great vintners doing great work for very little money.

3. The magazine is not always right – A highly rated wine is likely to be good, but there is no reason to believe that you will love it. Simply put, it is all a matter of taste. That someone gets paid to have an opinion does not make it infallible. A great rating is an indication that critics like it, but a poor rating doesn’t make the wine undrinkable, just a bit of a risk.

4. Any glass will do – If you are at a party and someone hands you wine in a juice glass or a brandy snifter or an empty soda bottle, say thanks and start drinking. Nearly every wine has its own type of wine glass, but there is no law that says you can’t drink wine from a paper cup if the situation suits.

5. Knowing a lot silently is endearing – If you are someone who clearly knows a great deal about wine, but doesn’t talk about it unless asked, people will like you more. It’s the same idea as being a great chef and being offered a simple shepherd’s pie made in someone’s kitchen. It is sure to have more love baked in than your restaurant, even if it’s not technically perfect.

4. Remember what wine is really for – The people who make wine rarely do it so that you can dote over it and wax poetic. The purpose of wine is to enjoy it and the people you are drinking it with. Wine is designed to make a party more fun, not turn an afternoon with friends into a lecture on vinology.

5. Drink beer and whisky too – If you love wine, that’s fine, but if your friends offer you a whisky, enjoy it. Some wine snobs will comment how much they would prefer a 1998 Bordeaux St. Emilion rather than have a cold beer....

Being a wine aficionado is great. In fact, we encourage it, but poor manners in the name of wine only makes wine seem less attractive to the people who don’t normally drink it. Be sure that you are as appealing as a delicious 2012 New South Wales (Australia) Pinot Noir that costs only a few pounds.

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