Top five New Year's wine resolutions for 2011

There are myriad (and often trite) New Year’s resolutions floating about, from quitting smoking to shedding some weight. But, since 88% of resolutions are abandoned within the first two months of the year, why not hang your hat on a couple that might plow through the first quarter? Simple and tasty, many wine-related resolutions can even be accomplished from the comfort of your couch.

1. Buy wine direct from the winery. Are you enamored of a certain winery (or maybe two)? More than likely, they have a wine club awaiting your love. Most of the clubs offer limited-edition bottles, discounts and also direct ship quarterly packages. If you want, you can simply give them your credit card and the bottles ship automatically (check out the one I designed at Foppiano Vineyards where I work). It’s like a Christmas present four times a year. Before you get excited though, check and make sure your state allows direct shipments at

2. Expand your varietal horizons. With hundreds of other grape varieties out there, it’s time to explore. Full-bodied Zinfandel or spicy Syrah/Shiraz can sit in for Cabernet Sauvignon, refreshing Chenin Blanc or fragrant Viognier for Chardonnay, or maybe explore the food-friendly side of dry Rieslings? You could also be on the cutting edge of an up-and-coming red grape, Petite Sirah, who has long struggled for appreciation. ‘Tis coming, my full-bodied, cherry and plum infused friend. Misunderstood, this grape is only distantly related to its close namesake, Syrah. Look for good ones from Stag’s Leap, Foppiano and Bogle.

3. Buy a decent corkscrew. The one with the long arms that looks like a flying nun should go buh-bye. Splurge on a Screwpull (like this one) or a “rabbit” type opener (like this one)– your life will improve dramatically, and miraculously, cork will no longer appear in your glass.

4. Facilitate resolution #2 by attending at least one wine tasting per month. Find listings of them on or in your local newspaper (live in Tampa? I feature one each week in my newsletter – sign up on the home page). An added bonus: increased attendance at tastings leads to more buying, which means stocking up your wine rack.

5. Incorporate wine into your daily food routine. Treating wine like a side item to your meal will teach you which varieties pair with what foods. You don’t have to use the trial and error method (however, that is part of the fun) but can consult this handy-dandy webpage for guidance. The vinous addition will aid digestion and keep you more sober while imbibing… paving the way for perhaps a second bottle.

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