Advice from Cellars 33: How To Be a Wine Lover, Not a Wine Snob

Interested in learning more about wine, but intimidated by talk of PH levels, guava notes, or the geography of France? Here’s the good news: you don’t have to speak wine jargon to enjoy wine.

In fact, a wine tasting experience can be as casual and relaxed as your typical Bay Area man’s wardrobe. Considering the number of wineries around here, we felt it was our sacred duty to help our wine-shy readers become wine lovers, sans any hints of pretension. To embark on this completely sober research project, we asked Cellars 33 to help us out.

“No matter what, you’re likely still drinking stuff better than what the pharaohs were throwing back.”

The winery is located in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, and owned and operated by a husband and wife team. Katie and John Fones met in Baltimore when John was an avid homebrewer. Katie, however, wasn’t a big beer fan, and so the two embarked on a winemaking journey together. They moved to San Francisco and opened Cellars 33 in 2010, producing about 1,000 cases of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and whatever else Katie lets John make. And as they like to say, they’re serious about winemaking, not so serious about wine. Here was their advice:

1. There’s no reason why wine should be less approachable than other drinks. We wish everyone treated it as such. Just shake off any pretentious vibes and enjoy it.

2. Either you like it or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Just because the guy standing next to you thinks something is outstanding, doesn’t mean it is supposed to taste good to you.

3. Think about why you like it. What were some of the traits you liked about that wine? Maybe write them down so you remember what to ask for next time.

4. No question is a stupid question. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or have someone break down wine terminology.

5. Spend for your budget. A more expensive wine is not necessarily better. It all depends on what you enjoy. No matter what, you’re likely still drinking stuff better than what the pharaohs were throwing back.

Visit Cellar’s 33 profile here.

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