Stop Whining and Start Wine-ing

Are you as clueless about wine as I am? Here are some good places in Maplewood and Brentwood to expand your wine knowledge.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but when it comes to food, I know what I’m talking about. I can wax poetic about ganache, cavolo nero, and remoulade all day long. I know the difference between ceviche and sashimi. And who doesn’t love a tasty amuse bouche? Okay, so maybe I’ve just watched one too many episodes of Top Chef; however, my point still stands: I know food.

Wine, on the other hand? I’m embarrassed to say that I know absolutely nothing about this fancy beverage. It’s a shame, really. The alcoholic delight often accompanies conversation about food; it’s the yin to food’s yang, so to speak. But when the subject of wine is brought up, my eyes glaze over in that “I have no idea what you’re talking about so I’m just going to smile and nod” kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ll drink the stuff. I know that I like my wine sweet and bubbly, and I’m totally in love with , but it would be nice to go to or , open their vast wine menus, and know exactly what I’m looking at. And judging from the that is offering this week, I’m not the only one in the dark when it comes to wine.

With that said, I invite you to expand your knowledge of wine and stop your whining once and for all. Here are some good places in Maplewood and Brentwood to begin.


If you’re having trouble distinguishing a Pinot Grigio from Pinot Noir, this class is for you. For $35 ($25 for Wine Club members), Saint Louis Cellars will teach you all of the basics of wine in this 90 minute class. The class runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday.

A Taste of Tuscany,

From 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sommelier and Wine Educator Jill Aboussie will lead you through a Tuscany wine tour. This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about reds and whites such as Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano and more.

Free Wine Tastings,

Trader Joe’s offers free wine tastings from 12 to 5 p.m. each Saturday. Use this time to sample a variety of wine and learn a little bit more about what you’re drinking. The knowledgeable staff can even offer tips on what food to pair your wine with.

Use your newfound wine knowledge to select wines from around the globe at World Market. In search of Provenance Carneros Merlot? How about a fancy Veuve Clicquot NV Brut? It’s all here. Still a little confused? One of the friendly employees will be more than happy to help you wade through the extensive collection offered here.

Now that you have a starting point, I urge you to get out there and start sipping! Even the most experienced sommeliers have more to learn when it comes to wine; it’s a world that is constantly growing and changing. Try not to be intimidated; grab a fancy glass and get to it! It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it, right?


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