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Sip smarter, sip better in 2012

Posted by Stephen Meuse  January 3, 2012 01:42 PM

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Assume a virtue if you have it not . . .  Hamlet III, iv, 181

It's the sad fate of most resolutions made on January 1 to come to nothing - or at least a lot less than we hoped for. While some worthy ambitions are dashed on the rocks of circumstance or opposition, others are victimized by that inner saboteur we all know to be resistant to change of any kind. 

Making an enthusiastic start seems to be important with these resolution things; so is having a plan that calls for a series of manageable steps rather than impossible leaps.  Sometimes, as  the Hamlet quote suggests, the way to get started is just to pretend to be the person you want to be - and let the force of habit do the rest.

If the person you aspire to be in 2012 is, among other things, a bit savvier about buying and consuming wine than the one I'm addressing right now, consider a little pretending along the lines of the ten recommendations you see below. It's the same list I've offered for years to attendees at Globe Insider events I co-host with food editor Sheryl Julian.        

  1. Have a house pour you love.
  2. Purchase by the case rather than the bottle
  3. Build yourself a "cellar" 
  4. Find a great local wine shop and give it your loyalty
  5. Taste comparatively, in context, with others 
  6. Buy decent glassware
  7. Use a Vacu-vin or its equivalent
  8. Learn to write a tasting note
  9. Own and consult a good general purpose reference book
  10. Subscribe to a useful newsletter or blog
I'll be using the first posts of the new year to discuss each point in detail.  Stick with me on this. Even incorporating one or two of these steps should make a real difference in the quality of your wine experience in the coming year - and if you have suggestions for more, I'd be happy to entertain them - and pass them along.  

Ellen Bhang

About By the Glass

Ellen Bhang writes about food and wine and reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe. Wine is the focus of her degree in the Gastronomy master's program at Boston University. She can be reached at


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