Why at­tend a wine tast­ing if I al­ready know what I like?

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Why at­tend a wine tast­ing if I al­ready know what I like?

I OF­TEN GET ASKED BY wine lovers why they should go to wine tast­ings and wine events when they al­ready know which wines they like. It’s the same kind of think­ing that around half of the peo­ple drink­ing wine have.

Af­ter ask­ing and find­ing out what they like—they may re­fer to grape, style, area or even a par­tic­u­lar brand and/or wine—my usual an­swer is that if you have not tried all the wines avail­able (and no one has), or at least a de­cent se­lec­tion, how can you know that by stick­ing to what you know (and like) you have made your best choice, and that per­haps there is a much bet­ter wine at a much cheaper price that you have not come across yet.

And I guess it’s all about per­son­al­ity and eco­nom­ics. For ex­am­ple, while I do my best to try as many wines as pos­si­ble both for busi­ness and per­sonal rea­sons, this can be hard work and some­times in busy pe­ri­ods like in­ter­na­tional ex­hi­bi­tions, I just feel like drink­ing some­thing that I know and that I like; and this is re­flected in my cel­lar—which usu­ally has around 200 bot­tles, and very few ref­er­ences will be rep­re­sented by more than one or two bot­tles, with only about five which I buy by the case.

On the other hand, my dad, who is 82, re­ally knows the wine he likes, and this is also rep­re­sented by his cel­lar. He only stores one wine, and he is not too friendly to try new wines that I bring home when I visit.

While my dad has never been a wine drinker, and drinks wine for health rea­sons as in­structed by his doc­tor, I en­joy the dis­cov­ery of new wines, the ex­cite­ment and the thrill of not know­ing what a new bot­tle will bring.

I used to be a lit­tle bit like my dad long ago, I used to drink mostly Bordeaux and Barossa when in Eng­land and Rioja when vis­it­ing Spain; even when vis­it­ing my par­ents in the house they have in the Mediter­ranean, I would ig­nore the lo­cal wines and go for a bot­tle of Rioja. This be­hav­ior re­peated for many years, un­til one day I de­cided to give it a go to a cou­ple of bot­tles of lo­cal wine from Ye­cla—be­ing so cheap my ex­pec­ta­tions were rather low.

How­ever, when I opened the bot­tles and tried the wines, I re­al­ized what an id­iot I had been, for so many years go­ing to that area and never try­ing the lo­cal wines, which were won­der­ful and de­liv­er­ing great value for money. I then went back to the shops and tried as many lo­cal wines as pos­si­ble, and I was fas­ci­nated.

That taught me a les­son: if you have the op­por­tu­nity, try new wines, you never know when you will dis­cover some­thing amaz­ing that may catch your heart (and your palate).

Al­fredo de la Casa has been or­ga­niz­ing wine tast­ings for over 20 years and has pub­lished three wine books, in­clud­ing the Gour­mand award win­ner for best wine ed­u­ca­tion book. You can reach him at

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