Your young adult child is about to turn 21 and you’d like to introduce them to the world of wine. It’s a big, sometimes scary world out there; full of terminology and techniques with plenty of opportunities for the occasional social misstep.
If you’re uncertain on the best way to initiate your child about the benefits and enjoyment wines can provide, let me offer three suggestions that might help.
Education. Buy your young adult a good wine reference book. I’d steer clear of the cutesy, sometimes condescending, “Wine for Dummies” series and get them a book that speaks to them as an adult.
Andrea Immer-Robinson’s “Great Wines Made Simple” is one of my all-time favorites – in fact, I’ve used is as the basis for my beginners class at Bellingham Technical College for the past five years. Unpretentious, yet informative, she covers topics ranging from how to read a wine label, how to buy or order wine, what to look for when tasting wine, and storage and accessories.
Participation. Exposure your child to wine in a safe, controlled environment where they can feel comfortable learning and tasting.
For example, serve wine with dinner in the home to show how it can complement the meal. Take your legal age child to a restaurant – preferably one with a good wine list – and let them participate in the selection process by asking questions about what to choose. Then purchase them a wine “starter kit;” perhaps a sweeter wine (generally preferred by novice wine drinkers) such as Riesling, a good bottle opener, and a few pieces of Riedel stemware to share with friends.
Moderation. We’d be naïve to think that our children have not been exposed or possibly even participated in some sort of underage binge drinking. By implementing good education and responsible participation, there’s much less likelihood of abuse and a better opportunity to teach our children how wine, enjoyed in moderation, can be a very good thing.