Currently studying at Johnson & Wales University for a bachelors in Hospitality and Foodservice, I am lucky enough now to be in a wine tasting class, specifically studying for Level 2 Status of WSET or Wine & Spirt Education Trust.  One of the two components of this class is wine tasting, every Wednesday in fact, we taste approximately 6 wines, today, red wines old world vs. new of various varietals.  Now, anyone who has ever tasted wine, or is familiar with the vernacular know that the aromas and flavors are associated and described by other fruit, vegetal, etc. characteristics.  Wine, in all of its glory, can be straightforward and obvious to the palate (today the term was “Fruit-Bomb”), or the other extreme is a richly complex wine with many layers.  And yet in any case, the conundrum remains – how many fruits and vegetables have you honestly smelled and tasted?  Personally, I have not yet pondered the characteristics of lychee or charred oak to adequately associate them with the characteristics of wine.  And in the spectrum of things, I probably have not sufficiently smelled or tasted half of the required aromas and flavors I am supposed to be characterizing with.  This has led me, a college student actually studying this subject to ponder the daunting barriers that some of my peers must be facing…

Having that said, in the grand scheme of things, I could nearly care less about the ology in oenology.  From a lazy Saturday afternoon perspective, I really enjoy a round glass of Zin because that’s what I enjoy drinking for reasons not closely associated with the flavor characteristics – I just know it taste good to me. 

I see the amounts (and quality) of alcohol that my peers (approx. 22 and over) consume, and I can tell you that these kids are not getting the best bang for their buck.  Now the light is shining at the end of the tunnel, for beer at least.  Micro brews have been steadily creeping up in the market of young American drinkers, just take a look at the Facebook App where you can choose your 5 favorite beers.  These lists are surprisingly refreshing, and not just in a Pacifico sense: some of the beers listed are regional brews, hard to find in most parts of the country, for example, Anchor Steam or the brews coming out of Lagunitas to name a few.  I’ve even got a buddy whom along with his pop have started their own home brews which have been surprisingly approachable and yet rich and complex – its gotten a few of my buds hooked on this unique segment of really tasty beers!

So this begs the question: Why can’t we make this formula work for wine and get more young Americans to cork up to a glass of ruby red pinot?