Over the past six years or so I’ve been gaining a teeny-tiny store of knowledge about wines. It’s been building up in fits and starts–first, I sat in on a few sessions of a five-week course as part of a project for my degree in adult education; then I read about half of a book about wines; I’d occasionally browse through an issue of Wine Spectator or attend one of the rare tastings held in my town in Georgia. When I moved to New York, I immediately had access to more and better wine and, more important, people who knew more about it. I started paying more attention to what my friends’ favorite wines are, what is served at dinner parties, and attended more tastings, although I still don’t take nearly enough advantage of those. Our trip to France earlier in the spring represented a big baby step forward (so called because two amateurs bumbling around France for a week can’t really learn that much), and now we’ve just returned from a four-day whirwind of tastings at the Nantucket Wine Festival, founded and presided over by our friend who organized the trip to France. This time we gained a bit more information on the wines of California and Spain, although I think my education was compromised by the allergy attack that morphed into a cold and pretty much killed my palate. We also met some very cool people who make, buy, sell, write about, and generally love wine. One is a lovely young woman named Cathy, who has a great Web site called 365 Days of Wine (that sound you hear is me smacking my forehead and wailing “Why didn’t I think of that?”). She’s based in the Boston area, but the information she presents can be generalized to your community, and if she gets enough momentum, she hopes to expand the site model to other cities. I encourage you guys to check out her site–she keeps it short and sweet and strikes just the right (for me) tone of someone who knows what she’s talking about but also wants to know more.

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