Wine is one of the most welcoming drinks I know. It’s universally loved. It’s available at every price point. And there’s a bottle for everyone, no matter how tricky your taste buds desire. So why does the wine world seem so intimidating? The truth is that it shouldn’t be.
To shed some light on the peculiar world of wine, I recently spoke with Chris Cutler, founder and co-owner of an awesome new brand called Grip, which produces wallet-friendly wines inspired by easy, outdoor California living. Cutler is also a partner at MyVinotype, a technology-based platform that uses data to make smart wine recommendations, and in the past, he’s been involved in sales, marketing, brokerage, and more for a number of great wineries, so he really knows his stuff.
Cutler tells me his number one piece of advice for anyone interested in learning about wine “is not to be overwhelmed and think that you have to learn everything (or anything) about wine to appreciate it.” Like people, he says, “wine comes in many different flavors and colors, and not one is right or wrong. Just sip, share, enjoy, and don't get caught up in the details.” If you’re really gung ho about immersing yourself in the subject, “the best thing to do is start visiting wine regions and experience what makes each one unique: the soils, terroir, grapes, history, and so forth,” he adds.
To give us a head start, I asked Cutler to share with us a list of the words that he thinks everyone should learn to better understand and appreciate wine. Read on for his glossary!
Spinning the Bottle by Paul Franson and Harvey Posert ($40)
"I have read a lot of books about the history of Napa, wines from the Old World, how to make wine, etc., but as a sales and marketing guy, the most interesting to me is/was a book called Spinning the Bottle by Paul Franson and the late Harvey Posert. The authors are old-school Napa PR and marketing pros who share a series of case studies on how wine brands differentiate themselves in a world where there are more than 5000 brands and wine is essentially just fermented grape juice in a pretty package."
Why You Like the Wines You Like by Tim Hanni MW ($25)
“I also can’t say enough great things about Tim Hanni MW’s book, Why You Like the Wine's You Like, which talks a lot about personal preferences, values, and experiences that make up our individual wine palates (or ‘vinotypes’!).”