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WINE SAVVY: The wide, wide world of wine

David Devere

I’m going to make a bold statement: We are living in the greatest age of wine that human history has ever seen.

Never before have we had access to so many different wines from so many different places at such affordable prices. We are truly living in a golden age of wine.

In 1950s America, the common wine options at your corner liquor store were something like chablis, red burgundy champagne and sherry. Today, you have hundreds of choices from six of the seven continents that are made from a wide variety of grapes and styles.

Having a plethora of options may seen daunting, even overwhelming. Maybe you hate having to pick a wine because all those choices and labels and bottle shapes and grape varieties standing at attention on the shelves are actually mocking you. Maybe you just choose the bottle with the prettiest label and maybe you get home, open it and think, “What’s all the fuss about?

Maybe, you’d just rather have a beer.

I’m here to argue for wine. The bottles aren’t mocking you. They don’t want you to feel dumb. They want you to drink them with friends and family, with home-cooked meals, summer picnics and celebrations. And I think you’ll agree that that is how most of us drink wine.

I’m here to help you journey into the world of wine. There are a few easy tricks to learn, and once you do, the world of wine reveals itself like a hidden treasure trove of taste and pleasure. I’m a certified specialist of wine by the Society of Wine Educators, and Minnesota’s first licensed wine educator. I live and work in Duluth, teaching wine education and appreciation classes in our area.

I’m not a sommelier (a wine steward in a restaurant), but I love to eat and pair wine with food. I hold a Wines of France proficiency certificate issued by the French Agricultural Ministry and, each year, I guide canal boating vacations through France’s wine country.

Every other week, you’ll find my column in the DNT’s Taste section. I’ll talk about a different aspect of the wine industry. Our goal is to help you make confident decisions when you go into a wine shop and to hopefully help you select the right wine for the occasion.

Because, yes, there is a right wine.

There is an option that will taste better, that will enhance your food, refresh your palate and relax your mind and body.

For thousands of years — possibly before the advent of beer, people have been making wine, which is so simple. Leave some grapes too long and they’ll juice themselves, they’ll ferment themselves and they will finish themselves into wine (and if you leave them too long, they turn into vinegar). It’s humanity’s oldest beverage, buried with the pharaohs for the afterlife and representing divinity in countless churches every Sunday.

It’s simple and it’s complicated — most good things are. Join me next time as we open your mind and your senses to the wide, wide world of wine.

Contact Devere at david@savvynomad.com or visit SavvyNomad.com

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