Learn to like wine


Wine, especially combined with the right food, seems to be a great deal among gourmets. I'd love to enjoy those highly-praised combinations too, but unfortunately, although I'm 22 years old by now, I still don't like the taste of wine at all.

Can I learn to like wine? Are there any methods or tips how to train my sense of taste? Or is it a process that will simply take its time, and the only thing I can do is "waiting to become older"?

Best Answer

There's no point drinking wine and not enjoying it. The point of wine with food is that, if you enjoy the wine and enjoy the food, you'll enjoy both together even more. But if you don't enjoy the wine, you'll enjoy the food less if you force yourself to drink wine with it.

Is there anything you do like about wine? If not, I suggest you ignore it for the time being. If you're curious, you'll come back to it in your own time, whenever you're ready. If you're not, it doesn't matter: there's nothing wrong with not liking wine.

If there is something you like about wine, for example, the aroma or some component of the taste, I suggest you keep trying it but don't force yourself. Taste it every now and again and, if you still don't like it, wait until you want to try it again. This is what I did with whisky. As a teenager / young adult, I really liked the smell of whisky but didn't like the taste – in hindsight, it was probably the alcohol content that was the problem. Every now and again I'd have a taste from my father's glass or from somebody I was drinking with at a bar. For a long time, I didn't like it but I still liked the aroma so I kept trying a couple of times a year. Eventually, I started drinking it.

A few things to bear in mind about wine.

  • Avoid cheap wine and don't waste your money on expensive wine that you won't appreciate. Low price isn't a guarantee of low quality and high price isn't a guarantee of high quality but it's worth spending, say, twice the price of the cheapest bottle if you're at the supermarket. That's likely to lift you into wines that you're disliking because you dislike wine, rather than because they're bad.

  • Red wine, poured straight from the bottle often tastes rather harsh. Open the bottle half an hour or so before you want to drink it and let it sit in the glass for a couple of minutes before you drink.

  • Wines (especially red) with just one or two grape varieties named on the bottle usually have simpler, less challenging tastes.

  • Sweeter white wines will probably be more appealing to you than drier ones. Try something like a sauvignon blanc or unoaked chardonnay, rather than, say, a pinot gris/pinot grigio. Riesling can be anywhere from super-sweet to mouth-puckeringly dry depending on what the winemaker did.

  • Supermarkets in the UK sell quarter-bottles of decent-but-not-amazing wine. That's a good way to try lots of different styles without having to spend a lot of money or feeling that you're wasting a whole bottle if you don't like it.

  • This suggestion is heresy but... consider chilling red wine. Chilling tends to make harsher flavours less noticeable. If you find you like it chilled, try chilling it less.

  • Ask a wine merchant. Specialist wine merchants love to talk about wine. Don't be embarrassed to walk into one of their stores and say, "Hi. I like the idea of wine but I've never found a wine I like drinking." Their eyes will light up because this is a challenge to them to use their skills to make a customer really happy. If you buy a couple of bottles on their recommendations, you'll be their favourite customer of the day, I guarantee. Doubly so if you go back a week later after liking what you bought. Go for it!