The journey of how to be a wine connoisseur is something every wine lover can benefit from. From the best wines for a cocktail party to the best type of red wine–or best type of white wine–there's much to learn.
Discovering how to be a wine connoisseur is especially helpful if you’re working in hospitality, or in a restaurant, bar, or wine bar. Becoming a wine connoisseur is helpful for growing your wine knowledge and career possibilities.
This BinWise blog post will walk you through the definition of a wine connoisseur. We’ll also cover some key steps to get you from wine enthusiast to wine connoisseur.
What Is a Wine Connoisseur?
A wine connoisseur is a wine lover who has turned their love of wine into an immense knowledge of wine. They are often also called aficionados or oenophiles. The term oenophiles comes from the Greek-originated word of oenophilia, which means a love of wine.
Anyone who drinks wine can be a lover of wine. A wine connoisseur, however, is someone who has turned that passion to learning about the history, range, and world of wine. A wine connoisseur might even end up learning to be a sommelier. They could work to join the list of master sommeliers.
12 Key Wine Connoisseur Tips
When you’re learning how to be a wine connoisseur, a lot of your work will center on tasting lots of wine and learning about it. Beyond those initial steps, these 12 key wine connoisseur tips will help you discover more about the world of wine.
12. Learn the Art of Tasting Wine
Becoming a wine connoisseur is based in tasting a lot of wine. To help you with that step, learning the art of tasting wine will come in handy. The five S’s–see, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor–will guide you through each taste.
11. Understand Wine Characteristics
Understanding wine characteristics goes hand in hand with a good wine tasting experience. The main wine characteristics are the sweetness, acidity, alcohol level, body, and tannins of the wine. Learning how to taste for those characteristics will enhance your wine appreciation.
10. Know Your Wine Glasses
Bar glassware is something every wine lover is vaguely familiar with. The variety of wine glasses you can use is something we can all learn more about. From the different champagne classes to the right glass for red or white wine, knowing your wine glasses is a large part of learning about wine.
9. Attend Wine Industry Events
Attending wine industry events, from tastings to master classes, will help you learn more about wine on an extensive level. This key tip feeds into another tip on this list, finding your wine community. The more you connect with people in the wine industry, the more you’ll learn.
8. Learn About Serving Temperatures
The range of serving temperatures across different types of wine is something you’ll learn as you enjoy wine with others, and at home. White wine is often chilled to some extent. Red wine is best suited, for the most part, to being served at room temperature. That temperature is also affected by the room where the wine is kept.
7. Learn How to Host a Wine Tasting
Learning how to host a wine tasting party will help you build your relationship with your wine community. You can host a tasting for fellow connoisseurs to enjoy wine together. If you’re working in a business that deals with wine, learning how to host a wine tasting will help you serve wine.
6. Explore Your Local Wine Scene
There’s amazing wine all around the world. Some of your most up-close experiences will be at wineries, and some of the best ones to start with are the ones nearby. Whatever your local wine scene is, check it out! From there, you can branch out, but starting close to home will give you an extra bit of knowledge about the wine location.
5. Check Out Interesting and New Wine
Many wine lovers out there drink the same wine again and again. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite varieties but on the path to becoming a wine connoisseur, you’ll need to branch out. Try a unique wine every time you go out to eat. Go to wineries you’ve never heard of before. Experiment, and learn how vast the wine world is.
4. Build Up Your Wine Vocabulary
Building up your wine vocabulary will come through with the rest of your journey of how to be a wine connoisseur. As you taste wine, talk about it, and find the wine community, your wine vocabulary will naturally grow.
3. Find a Wine Community
Finding your wine community is another effect that will come about as you become a wine connoisseur. You’ll find people at tastings, at wine markets, and at any official courses you take. You can also go to seminars and networking events.
2. Get Some Certification
There is a range of wine certifications you can get before you dive into the sommelier classes and education. Becoming a wine connoisseur can include those courses, but they aren’t required. They are, however, a great way to build your wine knowledge.
1. Grow Your Wine Collection
Growing your wine collection is always a good idea, but it’s especially important on your path to being a wine connoisseur. You’ll taste many wines as you learn more, and there will be many you want to hold onto. Building a wine cellar collection helps you share your wine knowledge with friends. If you’re working in a restaurant or bar and ordering wine, you can share it with customers.
"Key Takeaway: Becoming a wine connoisseur is helpful for growing your wine knowledge and career possibilities."
Frequently Asked Questions About Being a Wine Connoisseur
Learning how to be a wine connoisseur takes a lot of work. It is also, however, something that can be done from many angles. The relatively open definition of being a wine connoisseur leads to many questions. These answers will help you along the way.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Wine Connoisseur?
The amount of time it takes to become a wine connoisseur thoroughly depends on the person, and on what you want to learn. There isn’t something you need, certification-wise, to be a wine connoisseur. That said, there are certifications you can get. On average, you can expect to learn more about wine and feel confident as a connoisseur in around three years.
What Makes You a Wine Connoisseur?
A great amount of knowledge about and appreciation for wine makes you a wine connoisseur. Most connoisseurs have spent time learning about grape vines, growing wine grapes, and the different varieties of wine. They’ve learned about regions and all the types of wine around the world. Being a wine connoisseur comes about from learning the history and legacy of wine.
What Is the Difference Between a Connoisseur and a Sommelier?
The difference between a connoisseur and a sommelier is that a connoisseur is an enthusiast and a sommelier is a trained professional. That’s not to say becoming a connoisseur doesn’t take training.
Being a sommelier, however, is about more than a passion for wine, it’s about turning it into a job. Sommeliers often train to work in the hospitality industry, to be the wine director.
Can You Be a Connoisseur of Anything?
Yes, you can be a connoisseur of anything if you learn about it extensively. A connoisseur is, according to the dictionary, “one who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge.” You can apply that level of knowledge to many areas of life.
Being a Wine Connoisseur: How Much Do You Love Wine?
Being a wine connoisseur starts with a love of wine, and everything from there comes with learning and, well, more love for wine. From the history of wine to new innovations in the industry, there is always more to learn. Whether you’re learning for yourself or you’re working in a restaurant or bar business, there’s never a bad time to learn about wine.