I come from a family of wine lovers. My grandma and mom both love a good glass of wine, and as a kid, it was always a treat to be able to have a sip at a wedding or other special occasion.
In college, I discovered that not everyone shares this love for wine. In fact, most of my friends who drink prefer liquor or beer. Often, this is because they’ve only had bad wine before, but it can be difficult to convince them of that. I’m all about letting people like what they like. Some people just aren’t wine fans. But if your wine-hating friends are open to trying new things, you just might be able to introduce them to all sorts of new wines and wine experiences that they love.
Here are some tactics I’ve used to turn my friends into wine appreciators, if not wine lovers.
Offer a Sip
If someone has never had a wine they like, you’re not going to change their mind by shoving a bottle of wine at them. Rather, allow them to try a small sip. This way, there’s no commitment. If they don’t like it, there’s no big waste.
When I first started dating my fiancé, he didn’t think he liked wine. So when I’d buy a bottle, I’d usually end up drinking it by myself. Lucky for me, most wines don’t suffer from a day or two in the fridge after being opened. Over time though, I ‘d have him try a sip of wine out of my glass. This led him to discover that there are wines he really likes. Like me, he prefers sweeter wines like Moscatos and red blends that aren’t super dry. Now we share the bottle and there are hardly ever leftovers.
Match Your Wine Knowledge to their Taste
For the longest time, I couldn’t stand Merlots. I’ve gained an appreciation of them now, but for a while my dislike of Merlots made me wary of other red wines. Then I took a wine class that taught us some introductory knowledge that really defined the tastes and bodies of different varieties, as well as why certain wines go well with certain foods.
This got me thinking about how my taste in wine reflects my overall taste in food. I love fruit for breakfasts and desserts, so it makes sense that I enjoy light-bodied, sweet wines. When I find out a friend doesn’t like wine, I start to think about food and beverages they do enjoy, and whether a particular type of wine fits that profile.
Show them the Wine Experience
Before we dated, my fiancé didn’t drink much wine or liquor. He stuck mostly to beer. I like beer a lot, but I feel like drinking wine is more of an experience. Beer is a beverage like soda- you drink it because you’re thirsty or you need a drink to go with a meal. Drinking wine can be more of an occasion. You can build a meal or event around wine. This is why wine and cheese parties are so popular. There’s a reason that Champagne is the beverage of choice for Brunch. It creates an atmosphere. I’ve also seen a rise in “Paint and Sip” nights, where people create art and drink wine with close friends. What a fun idea! I’m considering doing this as a bachelorette-party!
In college, my roommates and I would go to a friend’s house for dinner and movies. Each week, we’d try a new wine. Whoever cooked would choose a wine that paired well with the meal. We learned a ton about our taste in wine, and we also always had a blast. Our friend who hosted even had a fancy tasting center with the corkscrew and glasses ready to go. It was a way for us to create memories.
If my friends aren’t the biggest wine fans, but are open to tasting, I’ll include wine in meals we have together. I’ll also invite them when I find out about free or affordable tastings that I’m interested in. My friend Beth doesn’t love wine, but she does love the outdoors, so we’ve visited some local wineries on a nearby “wine trail” with great scenic drives. These days are always an adventure, and she usually ends up liking at least half the wines. We both love trying new things, so it’s a win-win!
Do you have friends who don’t like wine? Have you ever tried to convert them? Share your experiences in the comments!