You may be perfectly happy walking into Trader Joe’s or Publix to select a wine for the evening. Maybe you choose it based on the cool label, the intriguing description on the back or it’s the same bottle you choose every week.


Grapes ready for harvest in Rioja, Spain



Or you may be overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious by all of the choices—that you leave the store empty handed. I mean what the heck is the difference is between a Sauvignon Blanc from California vs. New Zealand vs. France anyway?!


Regardless of your current relationship with wine, what if…

You could choose a wine based on the origin, climate, or winemaking technique? Or based on wine pairing principles? How do you think your selections would vary? Would your stress and anxiety decrease?




What does “elevate my wine game” mean anyway?

“Elevation” refers to growth in a particular topic or skillset—performing at or raising to a higher level. With regards to wine, I’m referring to building and leveraging a knowledge base about wine that will facilitate drinking more enjoyable wine.


Would you believe me if I said that your relationship with wine
could be emotional and memorable?
It’s true!


How do I get there?

The transformation from ‘eenie meenie miney moe’ to speechless doesn’t happen overnight.


For me, it started with traveling, lots of wine tasting and food/wine experiences around the world. But it wasn’t until I pursued formal education that it really clicked. Creating a basic foundation of wine (styles, origins, winemaking techniques, basic varietals, food pairing, etc.) is the first step. It gives you a foundation to leverage when making decisions or assessing wine. When you can explain “what” you are smelling or tasting … you’ve got the first step!



By “tasting” often you learn to compare wines and refine what you like and don’t like. Assessing wine isn’t easy, but once you have mastered it, it allows you to dissect and assess wine based on its unique characteristics. Now you understand “why” you like or dislike a particular wine.




Wine farm in Franschhoek, South Africa


Now that you can assess wine consistently and understand the reason behind nuances, you can explore wine from different regions, varietals, and producers. For me, you’ve hit the jackpot when you can recognize and appreciate a wines uniqueness and value (including price), regardless if you would put it in your personal wine collection.






Continue your education

Wine pairing at Corkbuzz, Charlotte



In my next three articles, I’ll break down each of the steps in this transformation from drinking ‘two buck chuck’ to quality wine:

Article 2: The Power of (Wine) Education

Article 3: Tasting Wine like a Professional

Article 4: Exploring Wine with a Curious Mind








Stephanie Roberts, WSET® Certified, is passionate about educating people about wine and all its complexities. She believes that through education comes enlightenment and approachability—elevating the wine and food experience. Stephanie is the founder of Corks & Boards, offering unique and tailored wine experiences, and topic driven tastings/education. Furthermore, she has developed a wine education series that she will launch February 2020. She currently offers wine experiences and education to the Lake Norman community at Brick Row and the Charlotte community at Camp North End.





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