The answer, of course, is to drink wine, and to drink enough of it and to drink enough different kinds so that you learn along the way. This usually gets a laugh, but too many people don't see this approach as a practical solution. "It can't be that simple," they say.
But it is. Really. One is not born to wine, anointed from on high. Everyone learns one glass at a time — and I have examples from the big-name guests we're interviewing this year at the Texas Wine Garden at the State Fair of Texas. More, after the jump:
My story is reasonably well known. I was a sportswriter who drank beer when I started doing this. The other Wine Guy, John Bratcher, was an actor whose brother-in-law won a liquor store in a poker game and asked John to work there. Most of our guests have similar stories, without a snooty, I'm better than you attitude among them:
? Chesley Sanders, one of the first retailers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to sell Texas wine, is a Fort Worth firefighter.
? Benny Barrett of Fall Creek, a leading Texas winery, is a former Marine and an ex-Dallas cop.
? James Tidwell, the sommelier at the Four Seasons, grew up in a dry area in north Louisiana.
? Hunter Hammett, the sommelier at the Fairmont, was a 20-year-old college student studying in Italy when he had his first real sip of wine.
? Nadia Hetzel, the winemaker at Haak Vineyards in Santa Fe, Texas, was an Army brat in Germany.
? Alphonse Dotson, who owns Texas' Certenberg Vineyards, was a defensive lineman for the NFL's Oakland Raiders.
Trust me. If we can do it, anyone can.