You receive the catalog in the mail. SURDYK’S SPRING SALE! (nevermind that the 3 feet of snow in your yard and current conditions mean you dress for survival instead of style.) It’s time to buy some wine! You head toward Northeast. Then it happens. As you enter the store, your eyes begin to glaze over at the seemingly endless selection of wine. Beads of sweat develop on your brow and your palms get a little sweaty. This is an actual medical condition called Varietal Anxiety. …Okay, it’s not. But for so many, entering a wine store is an intimidating experience. Especially one the size of Surdyk’s with aisles and aisles of wines that may or may not have a language you speak anywhere on the label.
Wine is an interesting thing. It’s romantic, it’s historic, and it can be downright scary to buy. And we know this because you tell us.
“I don’t know anything about wine!!”
“I need to bring a bottle of wine to a friend who’s a wine snob.”
“Do you have any wines with high ratings?”
Here are a few helpful hints from our wine staff that can help lower the blood pressure and hopefully make buying wine as enjoyable as drinking it.
Step 1: Relax a Little
Before you begin, remember this one thing: It’s just wine.
We put waaaay too much pressure on that bottle of wine. Many people are out to get the “best” at whatever given price point. If the wine doesn’t overperform, we dismiss it and move on to the next. Instead, treat that bottle of wine like you would a person. Say hello. Find out where it’s from. Invite it to dinner. Open it and let it tell you its story. It may not be your favorite wine but let’s get away expecting that every bottle hit it out of the park…every time. Appreciate it for what it is, on the day you are enjoying it.
Step 2: Free To Be You and Me
It is amazing how many people apologize for not knowing about wine. No one was born a wine expert. You get there by learning. And by learning, we mean tasting. You have to admit it’s pretty great homework. Want some guided learning? Surdyk’s offers classes throughout the year where you can expand your palate in a casual and fun atmosphere. Check out what’s coming up here.
Another phenomenon we frequently experience is that people will apologize for what type of wine they like. Does your palate prefer wines under $15? We should all be so lucky! But like Step 1 and unrealistic expectations, don’t assume what you don’t personally like is wrong. The “I don’t need to spend more than $10” or “Anything under $40 isn’t worth my time” attitude will leave a lot of delicious wine on both ends of the financial spectrum undiscovered. This is where the concept of wine ratings comes in. Back in the day, there were a small handful of wine writers who rated wines by numbers. Nowadays, every person with a smartphone can rate wine. So asking for only 90+ wines is no longer a guarantee of a good bottle match for you. Best advice – find someone whose palate matches yours and follow their guidance…which leads to step 3.
Step 3: Find Your Wine Yoda
We have a team of expert Wine Consultants whose sole job is to help you navigate the wide world of wine. Why trust them? With over 75+ combined years working at Surdyk’s, they know about wine. And their opinions are their own (read: they do not work on commission). When you ask for help finding a wine, you’ll get an honest, knowledgeable answer, not a bottle that helps hit a sales goal mark. And those opinions are different! Each member of the wine staff has a palate profile that differs from the others. Stop in and get to know them and find wines that they truly love and want to introduce to you in each of our catalogs.