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Conversations about wine

A good glass of wine is one of life’s pleasures.  Having conversations about wine is also often a great way to break the ice whether it be on a date, with friends or on business.  I am a wine professional and listen to how people talk about wines.  Here are some observations that I have made that may sound familiar to you:

I don’t know anything about wine, except that I like it”, is a phrase that I have often heard or ‘I can never remember the names of wines’.  Most people can’t remember the name of the last wine they drank.  When asked, my advice is to try and remember grape varieties.  For example white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, which is phenomenally popular around the world.  Maybe start with a wine from France then try one from New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and of course Spain.  Just by remembering the grape can open up the world of wine.

A friend of mine said to me, “I don’t drink wine but my wife likes a glass of wine from time to time, it seems a waste to open a bottle just for a glass”.  This is not a situation that usually occurs in the O’Neill household but it is a common scene.  Why are there so few alternatives to the traditional bottle of 3/4 of a litre? Actually in countries, such as Sweden and the UK, bag in box and wine ‘pouches’ are very popular and the quality of the wine  is generally good.  The advantage of a 2L bag in box is that it fits neatly in the fridge and stays fresh for weeks and you can have a glass a day or every other day.  A good solution.  Here in Spain bag in box doesn’t really exist but where you can find the quality of the wines will be poor but it doesn’t have to be this way.

I was in a restaurant with a group of friends and there was conversation about wine lists.  “It is just a list with no information to help you choose a wine”.   “Should we choose the house wine or the second cheapest wine on the list (not usually a good idea) or a Rioja.  More restaurants should take the time to write a short description about each wine to help customers choose.  Alternatively, as everyone has smartphones check out a couple of wines online.  I often use the app VIVINO, it is sort of like TripAdvisor but for wines.  The bad comments are often more reliable. At least it can help to make a decision.

I would love to hear from you with your Conversations about Wine.

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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