How To Assess Your Wine Learning

Happy Weekend,

If you’ve been learning about wine for a while, you might ask yourself:

When will I know enough about wine?

Not to be all political, but it depends on what your definition of enough is.

In reading wine books, passing multiple exams, and working in the industry, I organize wine knowledge in 3 baselines.

Each level is more than enough to be dangerous, and each is enough to say I know something about wine.

Here are my wine 3 baselines.

Baseline 1: Grape <> Region Connection

Lineup grapes and their region. Roll up those geography sleeves.

Given a grape, you can make the connection to the region, and vice versa. Sometimes, it’s a 1:1 connection, but often there’s more than one grape or one region.

Here’s a quick test to check your skill level.

  1. Bordeaux
  2. Cabernet Franc
  3. Rioja
  4. Vouvray
  5. Chiavennasca

How did you do?

Baseline 2: Wine Mind Mapping

The next level beyond matching is a skill I call Wine Mind Mapping. Given one wine term, how much can you write about for 90 seconds?

Here’s an example I did with Beaujolais.

Screen Shot 2023-02-09 at 8.08.41 AM.pngI jumped from Cote du Brouilly to Producers and ran out of time before finishing off the Crus. What did I miss?

Your goal should be to make as many connections as possible during those 90 seconds.

As your wine learning progresses, you’ll create more complex maps for 3 minutes or even 5 minutes.

Take notice where your branches end. Those are opportunities for more discovery.

Plus, you don’t need mind mapping software (I used MindNode), you can simply free write or use bullet lists. It’s all the same, but software makes it more visual.

Baseline 3: The No Prep Talk Test

Now, there’s a distinct jump between Level 2 and 3. You go from specialized bar room trivia to expert level.

Remember: the best wine learning happens when you go deep.

So, if you really want to push yourself in a right direction, you need to be able to talk endlessly about one aspect of wine.

For this level, I use the following internet question:

Without preparation, what topic could you talk about for 30 minutes?

When you think about this question in the context of your live, it’s pretty obvious to choose your favorite hobby or part of your job.

But with wine…uh…that’s a bit tougher.

This is a true test of where your learning is taking you.

If you could even break the 10 minute mark, you’ve done some serious learning.

The Wine Blueprint Wine Learning Baseline

1: One-to-One Connection between Grapes and Regions

2: Mind Mapping on a random wine topic

3: Give at least a 10 minute talk on one aspect of wine

So, where do you rank?

And more importantly, where do you want to rank?

Ready to commit to wine learning?

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