Do you make resolutions for the new year?  I’ve always been a results-oriented person and typically commit to a few goals that I want to accomplish.  The year 2017 will be no different.  I’ve already made plans to travel to Italy in October and have applied to the master gardener program.

Even if you are not the resolution type, it's fun to learn more about wine. Here are ten ideas to try in 2017.

  1. Discover New Grape Varietals – Chances are you know the popular international grape varietals such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Pick a country such as Portugal or Italy and explore their indigenous grapes. 
  2. Drink Globally – Explore all of the wine producing countries. The top ten countries (2015 data) are:  France, Italy, Spain, USA, Argentina, ChinaAustralia, Chile, South Africa and Germany.
  3. Perform Blind Tastings – This is a sensory examination and evaluation of wine that improves the individual’s ability to describe the perceived flavors, aromas and characteristics of a wine.
  4. Build a Wine Collection – Having a well-matched wine on hand to go with any meal or occasion is essential for any wine enthusiast. A small collection of 50 to 75 bottles is a good starting point.
  5. Visit Local Vineyards – We are fortunate to live close to the many wineries in the Monticello American Viticulture Area (AVA).  If you have visited all of those wineries, then consider exploring another Virginia AVA.
  6. Plan a Wine Destination Vacation – There are many to consider in the United States as well as in Europe and South America. One of my favorite wine vacations was Willamette Valley, Oregon, well-known for their Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
  7. Buy a Case of Wine to Age – Wine will mature over the course of several years. Buy a case of age worthy wine such as Napa, California Cabernet Sauvignon and open a bottle every year or so to see how it has changed.
  8. Take an Online Wine Course – The winter season is a great time to take an online wine course or read one of the many wine books available.
  9. Diversify – We all have our favorite varietals or regions, but look to broaden the group of wines that you know and enjoy. 
  10. Start a Wine Club – Gather a group of fellow enthusiasts who want to meet regularly to taste and learn. You’ll need to pick a theme, a budget and the meeting location.

- Joyce Watson, IvP Wine Director