Last month Faith asked readers about the best ways to learn how to cook. This got me wondering how you, our readers, like to learn about wine.
Serious enthusiasts might take the structured approach enrolling in a professional course; others might prefer a more casual, ‘edutainment’ style fun class.
Many more are self-taught from reading in-depth tomes such as the Oxford Companion to Wine or The World Atlas of Wine; or subscribing to well-known magazines such as Decanter, Wine Spectator, The Wine Advocate, or Wine Enthusiast.
And then there are the wine clubs, where friends gather regularly to taste and talk about different wines.
Today the internet, the proliferation of wine blogs, and the escalating use of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook by wineries and wine professionals has provided yet another means for wine lovers the world over, not just to learn about wine, but to become more actively involved in the conversation, sharing ideas, asking questions and giving opinions.
There is little to beat the hands-on approach of visiting different wine regions, tasting the wines and speaking with the people who grow the grapes and make the wine.
As a wine educator, I am forever fascinated by whether wine consumers want to learn about wine and how much? If so, what particularly interests them? And how they like to learn.
While somewhat biased I like to think of wine education as all encompassing. It is not just about growing the grapes or making the wine. It is also about history and diverse cultures around the world. It is about people, politics, ethics and regulation, as well as best practice, sustainability and the environment.
As an agricultural sector it is also about managing the vagaries of supply and demand, scarcity and glut in an ever-changing world.
Finally, beyond the romantic side of wine, it is essentially about business, profitability, and innovation in a fiercely competitive and fragmented global market.
What fascinates you about wine, and how do you like to learn more about it?
Mary Gorman-McAdams, DWS, is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. She holds the Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and is a candidate in the Master of Wine Program.
Related: Wine: Heard it Through the Grapevine by Matt Skinner - Book Review 2009
(Image: Mary Gorman)