Here’s Part 2 in my series of suggestions for enlivening your wine explorations in 2012:
Keep a journal. If 90 percent of success is just showing up, the key to wine appreciation is to pay attention. You don’t need to create a database of every wine you’ve ever tasted, but taking notes can help jog your memory about a wine you liked last month, you know, the one with the blue label. This can also help your conversations with your retailers. The more you can tell them about wines you liked or disliked, the better they can focus in on new recommendations for you to try.
I’ve tried several times over the years to keep a systematic record of wines I’ve tasted, but it just doesn’t work – I’m not organized enough, and entering various items into a database takes more time than writing a tasting note. I even bought a bar code scanner that supposedly linked to a database so it could fill the info in automatically, but that didn’t work either. Turns out I was helping the scanner company build its database, laboriously entering Winery, Wine Name, Country, Region, Vintage etc., for dozens of wines that weren’t recognized. Didn’t leave enough time to taste them!
Even though I’m resigned to keeping a journal the haphazard way, I’m not immune to tech love. Lately I’ve been using an app called Evernote that allows me to snap a photo of a wine label with my phone and enter a few words, then syncs automatically with my iPad and home computer. When I’m browsing the web and see an article I like, I can clip it to Evernote for reading later.
When I feel more traditional, I use a Moleskine notebook. These are rather cool in the blogger/writer community (after all, they advertise as “Hemingway’s favorite”). And while they require two hands, making holding a wine glass difficult, they have an advantage at tastings or meetings with winemakers over the Voice Message app on the iPhone: Privacy. I sometimes enjoy reaching into my stack of Moleskines and reading about wines I tasted a few years ago, and maybe some interesting article ideas I never followed up on. That’s a pleasure I don’t think I could get out of an app, scrolling through a list of files or a database.
Also in this series: