I don’t remember the exact moment I started to enjoy wine, but now a wine and cheese night is the dream. I think it began when Cooper and I got different bottles of wine from our wedding venue (it was a vineyard) and we decided to try one each week. Over time, I began to discover the things I liked and felt confident enough to choose what I wanted with dinner, but it wasn’t always like that.

Wine Doesn’t Have to Be Pretentious
I don’t know about you, but the idea of wine used to make me feel like I couldn’t enjoy it if I didn’t know about the region it came from or if I couldn’t articulate what flavor notes it had. This feeling was made more overwhelming by one of my first experiences ordering wine at a restaurant. Cooper and I had just gotten engaged and were celebrating at a nice restaurant in New York. We thought it would be nice to have some wine with our meal, since it was a celebration after all. The thing was, at the time we really only knew that wine was red or white and that we once enjoyed a “cab sav”. We looked for help from the in house sommelier. We told her our budget, that we didn't have much experience with wine, but were excited for her to share something new with us. Her response was less than enthusiastic and made us feel extremely belittled. Like we were unworthy of her extensive collection of wine at the restaurant. Cooper and I both walked away remembering that exchange much more than the wine we drank.

I shared this story on set with our expert for this episode, Dr. Ryan Hess, who expressed beforehand to take advantage of the people who are there to help you find a wine. Even at your local grocery store, there is someone there who at least knows what the most popular ones are. Unfortunately, one bad expert turned me off from the idea of asking about wine when I shopped for it, but over time I learned not to let one bad experience stop me. There are so many people out there who are ready to help!

Does Wine Need to Be Expensive to Be Good?
The short answer is: No. You probably won’t find a good wine for under $10, but you can find something good from even $12-$15. In the episode, our guest Rydel loved the cheapest of the 3 wines! At the end of the day, it’s up to your personal preference on what wine you enjoy. Ryan did leave us with some good advice on how to find quality wines at any price when you’re scanning the aisles.

1. Don’t let the cute labels fool you
Ryan found that the majority of mass produced wines will try to draw you in with a really cute or pretty label. This might be a sign that the outside of the bottle is more important to them than what’s on the inside of the bottle. This doesn’t always determine the quality of a wine, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind. Try going for a more classic or simple looking label.

2. Darker bottles protect the wine
This generally applies to finding a quality red wine, but if you can’t see the color of the wine, that’s probably a good sign. People that care about preserving the quality of the wine will use bottles that protect the wine from the sun.

3. Check the weight of the glass
Higher quality wines will usually spend more money on the glass. Again, this is about protecting the wine in the bottle.

Things You Might Want
If you are going to be enjoying wine at home here are some things you may need/want.
Wine Glasses (of course)

And if you’re like me and are too lazy for the corkscrew, try an electric wine opener.

However you enjoy wine, be sure to drink legally and responsibly <3

To learn more, be sure to check out the episode here!

We came. We saw. We adulted.