I love wine. Let me write that again. I love wine. I love the adventure of trying new styles of wine and discovering my personal preferences. I love the varying regional tastes. I love how wine makes good dinners great, and I love how wine can turn a dull social event into an interesting and exciting party.  Although I love wine, to say that I am inexperienced in my knowledge of wine is an understatement.  Like many American wine drinkers, I pick up a bottle or two of my trusted brands on my weekly trip to the grocery store and if I’m feeling wild, I’ll buy a new bottle based on the appeal of the label.

Despite my limited “wine smarts,” I’m working to gain knowledge regarding the primary styles of wine, understanding what pairs well with certain foods, and how to accurately describe the tastes and bodies I consume. The research is fun and rewarding, but I have a lot to learn! 

In terms of learning about wine, few experiences can compare with the opportunity I was recently given.  I participate in a monthly executive coaching group with incredible business leaders from all walks of life.  We held a group dinner to celebrate an incredible year together, and as a special treat we were joined by Eddie Osterland, America’s First Master Sommelier, an internationally acclaimed expert in the culinary arena of food and wine.  This man is a wine rock star! Eddie shared a presentation of his life and journey to become a Master Sommelier, in addition to incredible tips regarding the world of wine.  It was an evening I will never forget.

Our group asked Eddie, “what are your top two tips to share with the average wine consumer? “ He replied, “that’s easy.”

Tip #1: Red Wine should typically be served slightly cooler than room temperature, and white wine should be served slightly warmer than refrigerated temperature.  Therefore, before serving red wine, place the bottle in the refrigerator from 20 minutes.  Prior to serving your refrigerated white wine, pull the bottle out of the refrigerator and place on the counter for 20 minutes prior to serving. 

Tip #2: The key ingredient that separates a great dinner from a dinner you’ll never forget is a great story.  Wine can fulfill this demand.  Prior to your dinner, purchase two different types of wine.  Research the background of the region the wines comes from, the various flavors of the wine, and any interesting facts you can find about the company, the grapes, and the origin story of the bottle.  During your dinner, share the stories behind each bottle of wine, and ask your guests to take notice and discuss the many differences between the two unique styles of wine. 

Despite my limited knowledge of the world of wine, Eddie Osterland’s top two tips will stay with me for the rest of my life.  Thank you Eddie!