Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book’em Wino – Thoughts on Keeping a Wine Journal

We’ve all done it, stood in the wine aisle of a store, looking over all of the bottles and labels competing for our attention and wondered, “Where do I even begin?  How do I choose a wine I’LL like?” 

Keeping a journal of the wines you enjoy and your winery adventures might be just the answer.  A wine journal makes it easier for you to locate that special bottle again, and keeping good notes will remind you of the special places you’ve visited.

Maintaining a wine journal does not have to be complicated.  Any notebook will do, or you can opt for one that is specially made for this purpose. You can keep one on your computer, iPad, or download a phone app and take it with you! There are even wine cards that allow you to log your information for later review.

Your real goal is to keep track of your impressions, observations and thoughts about a wine.  List just one wine per page so that you can be as detailed as you wish.  It also makes finding those notes easier.

Keep your journal handy when you taste the wine.  (If you haven’t yet, check out the post on How to Taste Wine http://joysjoyofwine.blogspot.com/2012/02/basics-of-wine-tasting-how-to-wine.html )  Besides the basic wine information you need to remember, (appearance, aroma, body, and taste,) write down where you purchased the bottle, how much it cost, if it had a wine rating, and what you did or did not like about it, overall.

Now for your impressions, write down the date you opened and drank the wine and the circumstances; friends over for dinner, a nice quiet evening by the fire, summer BBQ with family…. Keep track of your first impressions.  Then note how it evolves during the time you drink it.  What did you serve with it?  Did it go well or would you now pair something different? Be as detailed as you wish.  This information will help you when purchasing other wines. 

Remember to remove the label from the wine and paste it in your  physical journal.  This label will provide solid information as to the type of wine, where it was crafted, vintage, alcohol content, and possibly tasting notes on the back.  There are several products on the market to assist in label removal. Research them and select what works best for you. Or do a Google image search for the label and add it to your computer journal.

If you purchased the wine at a winery, you can include photos of the tasting room, tours you went on, even the winery’s tasting notes to compare with your own.  And many wineries with wine shops will have not only wine journals, but also label removers for sale.

Another use for a wine journal is when you are making wine at home.  This book then becomes essential for keeping track of what you are crafting, what nutrients and yeast you’re adding, and different readings taken during fermentation.  (But this is for another blog...)

Keeping a journal of the wines you’ve tried, what you thought of them and the experiences you had with them is a fun, yet practical way to keep track of your wine life.  Favorites are easy to find again and you’ll also remember what you didn’t like and why.

So if a wine journal or wine journal app makes sense to you, start taking notes with your next bottle.  And the next time you want to remember what that fantastic 2007 Shiraz was – you’ll have it at your fingertips!   Just remember to …


~ Joy