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New Year’s resolutions: Ideas for wine lovers

Happy New Year. With the new year now stretching out before us, we’ve set out some resolutions that will suit any wine lover perfectly - and none mention the gym.

Will you be following any New Year’s resolutions around wine? Let us know on social media @Decanter.

New Year’s resolutions for wine lovers:

Less is more

Dry January is a fad that seemed to be at its peak last year. It appeals to people’s health conscience, which has taken a battering over Christmas and New Year.

For a wine lover, all this can be miserable reading. January is a long, dark month that certainly does not need wine taken away from it. In my opinion, there is a way to strike a vinous balance:

First, calculate your weekly wine spend. For an example, let’s use £60 or $90 on 6 bottles – £10 ($15) a bottle. My new year’s resolution is to spend exactly the same amount but buy better quality wine. As the sayings go, less is more, quality over quantity. This will give some excellent results:

  1. We’ll be halving our alcohol consumption during January. This goes a long way towards balance rather than having to endure a “dry January”. Of course, we’d have at least two days off during the week – UK government guidelines.
  2. We’ll be halving our calorie intake (in my opinion, a form of a wine lover’s diet).
  3. After a long week at work, we can look forward to Friday safe in the knowing that we’ll be pulling a cork, or turning the screwcap, on a £20 bottle of wine rather than our everyday £10. This could be the difference between a producer entry level wine and their top cuvee.
  4. We’ll be trying wines that we would not normally buy and therefore learning more about what we like.
  5. In the knowledge that we will be drinking better quality wine, less often, this will make us consider what we are cooking. This extra effort always has the knock-on effect of purchasing better quality ingredients, eating healthier food and enjoying food and wine more.

If you want something for your ‘days off’, read about the rise of alcohol free wines in the February 2020 issue of Decanter, on sale now. 

Use your holidays to explore

‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’

Although this quote is taken from Atticus in To Kill A Mockingbird, the same quote could not be truer than when applied to a winemaker and his wine grapes. Hence, when we look for our annual holiday in January, we are going to try and fit in a vineyard trip with our booking. It is the best way to get to know a wine and why it is how it is.

There are so many options. Skiing in February in the Dolomites? There’s the whole of Verona, the Alto Adige and Friuli to explore on your drive up into the mountains. A trip to the Trulli of Puglia – discover the Negroamaro grape. A gîte in the Languedoc-Roussillon – stop by St-Chinian AOC. Renting an apartment in San Francisco – the Napa Valley is well worth a trip.

Trying to watch your air miles in 2020? There are plenty of wine regions you can visit by train.

This list could go on, so a Decanter.com New Year’s resolution will be to continue to expand our travel section. Look out for the travel special in the February 2020 issue of Decanter.

Try more wine

We’re lucky enough to try many different wines, from many different regions. Some are wonderful whilst others are instantly forgettable. Each year there is always a grape which captures the popular imagination. Some go on to be staple wines, such as Pinot Grigio then Marlborough Sauvignon, whilst others fade away. In the UK, Spain is leading the charge in bringing to our attention new wines. In 2013-2014, it was the white wine Albariño, from the Rías Baixas region in the north west of Spain that was first on bar list and is now in the supermarkets. In 2019 it was Grenache blanc taking off with fine examples being found not just in Spain but also in places like South Africa – the Foundry’s Grenache blanc from Paarl is a lovely example.

Every wine lover’s New Year’s resolution should be to try new wines and find new producers, regions and grapes they like – then be evangelical about them. With any luck, you may find it in a good restaurant, then in a wine merchant and finally in a supermarket. However, by the time it is there, you will have found another wine to tell your friends about.

How to spot a possible trend:

  1. The wine over delivers at £10-£15 $15-$25 price point
  2. It can be pronounced in English – sad but true in most cases
  3. The region can produce enough for the mass market for under £15

In our predictions for 2020, Austrian wine looks to be on the rise, as well as appassimento wines and oaked Chardonnays.

A great opportunity for trying new wines is at a Decanter Fine Wine Encounter. Our Spain and Portugal tasting is on the 29th February 2020. 

Alternatively, you could expand your wine knowledge by enrolling on a wine course, or downloading the Decanter Know Your Wine app. 

Support Local Merchants

Supermarkets have a lot of power in the wine business and do a fine job at delivering for the everyday consumer. That is simply not enough for us wine lovers, especially when our New Year’s resolutions are to:

  • buy less but better wine
  • find wine regions we can visit
  • to try more wine

We need a good wine merchant who will be invaluable to us through 2020. Without our support, the numbers will fall and we could end up with much with less interesting wine available to us. Unthinkable.

Here’s to a year of good wine.

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