The topic of wine is an infinitely vast one. No one on the planet knows everything about all wines. Because of this vastness, wine can seem intimidating. No matter how much we might know about wine, there is someone out there who knows more (well, maybe this does not apply to Jancis Robinson, but the rest of us mere mortals will always have someone else to look up to). However, this should not intimidate us.

While the most important bit of wine knowledge is what wines or kinds of wines we enjoy, continuing our education will always enhance our enjoyment of wine. Certainly there are many great books we can turn to, but at the end of the day the way to learn more about wine is to drink it.

At this point the student of wine will have to balance the demands of depth with breadth. If we go to the wine shop and get 24 wines from 24 different regions, made in 24 different styles, we might have a great time studying each one, but the lack of depth in any one of those regions will hamper our continuing understanding of the wine. Studying a few bottles from the same region and the same producer will allow us to develop a portrait in our heads of the characteristics of those wines.

Once again, the intimidation factor comes into play. If we purchase a case of wine from one producer, we might have to spend more at one time than we would like. If, on the other hand, we join a wine club, we will get a reasonable amount of wine shipped over the course of the year, AND we will get it at a discounted price. Even if we are unable to take full advantage of the perks of membership (complimentary tastings and wine club events), having a regular shipment of wines from a producer we like will give us a terrific advantage in expanding our knowledge.

After a year in a Napa wine club, we will start to understand the characteristics of the wines from this world-famous wine producing region. After two years, our pattern recognition will kick into high gear, and we will have a much deeper grasp of what it is that makes a Napa wine different than a wine from Washington, France, or Chile. With each of these increases to our wine knowledge comes a deeper enjoyment of these wines.

And enjoyment of the wine is what it is all about!