A Glassie’s Guide to Wine

Welcome Glassies, to your guide to life. This series takes a deep dive into all your pressing need-to-knows (how to contact your local MP, how to make the perfect cocktail, and how to get over your ex, goddamnit) and offers comprehensive guides so that you can live your Best Glassie Life™. 

This edition is A Glassie’s Guide to Wine. 

Often, when I bring a bottle of wine over to a friend’s house, it ends with me drinking Riesling out of a mug. I’ve come to realise that many young people just don’t drink wine and therefore have no need for wine glasses. 

I’m interested in the narratives that these same friends tell themselves about wine. That it doesn’t taste nice, or that it is what older people drink. A boyfriend once told me that his friends thought it was ‘cool’ that I drank wine. I remembered being baffled. Really??   

I forget that I was raised in a wine-loving family. I wasn’t exactly weaned on the stuff (thank god), but wine has always been a part of our lives. My mum likes to tell people that my dad only married her for her father’s wine cellar (which was actually just a basement with a helluva lot of wine in it but that’s beside the point). 

And so, in an attempt to convert the wine sceptics among us, we present A Glassie’s Guide to Wine. 

Do not be intimidated. 

A few years ago, my dad pulled into our local bottle shop on the way to dropping me at a party. 

He was going in to buy me a bottle of wine to take with me. I wasn’t underage, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to take. 

The party was being hosted by a colleague, Allison. Allison is effortlessly glamourous and everything I want to be when I grew up. She lived in Italy for most of her twenties, put herself through medical school in her forties, and raised the most beautiful three children all the while. We could do a whole Glass profile on her, to be honest. 

In the car, my dad asked me what sort of bottle I wanted him to buy. 

‘Maybe that rosé with the picture of the rooster on the bottle?’ I said.  

Then I second guessed myself. I liked that rosé with the rooster on the bottle, but was it actually a nice bottle of wine to take over to someone’s house?  

I sighed. ‘Actually, I don’t know. I think Allison knows a lot about wine.’ I thought about her years in Italy, the life I imagined she lived and the many glasses of wine I imagined she had tasted in her life. 

My dad looked back at me. 

‘Never let anyone intimidate you about wine,’ he said. 

Of course, Allison wasn’t trying to intimidate me at all. I was doing that myself. But that advice felt like an exquisite permission slip. And now I’m giving it to you too: never let anyone intimidate you about wine. Not a friend, not a waitress, not even a sommelier, and especially not yourself. 

Phone a friend. 

I can’t drink red wine anymore. Not after a particularly sad incident involving a 3 bottle of merlot and an Austrian park in the early evening with kids still playing in it. In the interests of preserving my dignity, I can’t say anything else on the subject. 

But I can tell you about the week I most loved red wine. The day I finished high-school, I jumped straight on a plane to New York City to camp out in my sister’s microscopically small West Village apartment. At night she ordered me glasses of red wine in restaurants. Aishlin, my sister, would scan the menu for a minute, and then point one out: ‘I think you’d like this one.’  

I still didn’t know what she was looking for on those wine lists. I just knew that every glass she picked out for me was perfect. 

So, remember that you can phone a friend. You might be in for a surprise – they may know your palate better than you even know it yourself. 

Figure out what you like. 

I love wine. But I don’t like all wines – I can’t so much as sniff a glass of red (see above). It’s only fair that you might not like every glass of wine you taste either, so be sure not to write off wine on the whole too early. My best tip for finding the wines you like is take a photo of any bottle of wine you like. That way you have super easy access to a few options you like when you walk into a bottle shop. 

Buuuuudget, buuuuuudget (sing this like the woman in the Budget Insurance ad). 

I believe strongly that with wine, as many things, more $$$ does not always equal more 🤤🤤🤤. My sister moved back to our Brisbane family home during the craziness of 2020 and during that time, my family found a gorgeous bottle of white that retailed for $2.99 a BOTTLE. That might sound bogan. But I assure you there is nothing bogan about drinking a bottle of wine that tastes bougie AF for less than the price of a small coffee. Big win. So go ahead, try that cheap bottle of wine I know you had your eye on in the bottle shop. 

And if it ends in disaster, cheap wine is perfecto for cooking.  

Drink responsibly, Glassies. And enjoy. 

Ciaran Greig
Ciaran Greig

Ciaran (she/her) is a Meanjin/Brisbane-based writer and an editor at Glass Magazine. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Creative Writing)/Bachelor of Laws.

Articles: 50

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