How to Wine: Taste this… Again.

I made a joke a while back about how I never make my mind on anything ’til I’ve tasted it 3 times. Although I’d love to take credit for it, it actually came from an episode of That 70’s Show. The part was Fez explaining to Donna why he has to have sex with this girl 3 times, “Well because the first time I’ll be nervous and then the second time, I’ll have  to please her because I got nervous. Then the third time . . . the third time is when I get funky.” I thought it was hilarious so I started using the Three Times Theory for just about anything I could. How does this apply to wine, beer or spirits? I’m glad I pretended to ask you.

The First Time: You have some idea of what you want it to be.

The thing about wine is that every bottle we look at evokes some thought in your mind. Napa Valley on the label says it will have these characteristics or the label/name is really cool and you just want to like it. You will buy a bottle or order a glass of a new wine with an idea of what you want it to be and sometimes… be disappointed. Thats why we go for it a second time.

The Second Time: You’re comparing it to the first time.

The first time it was lackluster because the wine has a cool name and like a Tinder date, you decided what it should be before you actually knew what it was. Was that a random hook up because you were “Totes tips?” or you trying to make a sexy profile picture(or lets say… a cool wine label) something special you could take home to Mom and Dad? Take this time tasting to let the juice be what it is.

The Third Time: The verdict.

what if i told you

The third time you have officially made a decision on whether you like it or not. You can easily answer the question: Is this a good wine? As well as the hardest question ever posed to a new or even a seasoned wine drinker: What is it you do or don’t like about it?”

There’s nothing worse than having a wine once and loving it then, a couple weeks later, ordering it for a group of friends and it tasting like some busted grocery store crap you’re stuck paying restaurant prices for.

Take your time when you taste so that you can get everything you can out of the wine. The Three Times Theory can help guide you until you get the hang of it. After 6 years of tasting 50 or more wines a month, I still taste(seriously it just tasting… unless its really good)multiple times to get my opinion right. Bottom line is: Keep tasting.

If you have any questions about the Three Times Theory or have a wine question, please email me at


Learning How to Wine

Wine has a certain… unapproachable aspect to it. Some people think of it as snobby or pretentious. Others think it’s only for a special occasion. You need to know that idea is wrong. Wine is an everyday thing for anybody. If you think it’s not… Well…



That being said, if you don’t know where to start I can help with that.

What I’m going to tell you is absolutely crazy…… Wine. Is. Fun. Tasting it, learning about it, drinking it. Every aspect of it. So why is there this pompous vibe that surrounds it and pushes people away? Probably because some people don’t know enough about it.

Mind blowing fact: Most wine makers are good ole boys that are actually farmers. They spend more time in fields with dirt under their fingernails than in a three piece suit pouring Merlot into a goblet made of diamonds for the King of Canada.

In the beginning the only thing I could say when some asked about the difference between Cabernet and Chardonnay was that one was red and one was white. Seeing rows and rows of bottles when you walk in is overwhelming. Especially when you just wanted to pick up a bottle with a badass label for date night thats under $12.

retail shop pano

So. Many. Bottles.

Staff Picks

Look for a staff picks section. Wines are usually there because they sell a lot of them. Weird stuff doesn’t sell well. Trust me.

Any wine shop worth it’s salt will have employees that WANT to talk to you about wine. Seriously. Wine shop associates are a rare breed of retail workers that, usually, really like what they do and want to tell you about all the cool new stuff they just got in. Sometimes they have wines open that you can taste. Really taste the wine, don’t just try to catch a quick buzz. Give them feedback on what you like or don’t as best you can. And don’t try to talk the way you think they would, “I taste light saddle leather with cassis and bitter cocoa undertones.” I don’t even say crap like that. Be real. Be accurate. Then watch the wheels start turning as Christopher Cabernet tries to pull something just for you out his mental wine catalog.

Every interaction I have with a customer(new or a regular) starts with a conversation. For me to be good at what I do, which I am, revolves around me listening to what you’ve told me about your wine tastes.

You can read about wine all you want but you’ll never learn to swim from watching how-to’s on YouTube. Get in the game. Come see me at a tasting. We do 2 free tastings every week at Wine Country and even have a Grand Holiday Tasting on December 3rd for $10 a person. That’s 16 wines to try for $10. No one should ever have an excuse as to why they can’t go to a wine tasting. Never miss a chance to try something new.

If you have any questions about wine or our tastings, email me at I’d love to hear from you.