I don't often use that phrase, but what a week! COVID ripped through our house, but thankfully Grandma arrived on Wednesday night to help restore a bit of normalcy to our lives. We're on the mend and people are feeling better.
While all of this put a severe dent in my wine writing, I was able to review the backlog of blog posts and ideas with the energy and time I did have.
And as fate would have it, I stumbled across this gem of an anecdote from the archives.
In short, if you're looking for a simple wine journal, I created this Emoji Wine Tasting Sheet years ago. I used to give it out to people at events and tastings.
Even if you think my take on a journal is silly, the story behind it is worth your time. Hopefully, it makes you smile.
Keep A Wine Journal
Yup, this is the fastest, easiest way to keep track of those so-called good bottles of wine.
There are a number of tools available for you to keep a wine journal.
You can use:
- Wine Specific Apps
- Prefabricated Journals
- Notes App
- Google Docs
- A Legal pad
In fact, the less fancy the better—in my opinion. Going low-tech makes it easy, and you don't have to fumble for your phone to take a picture and write about the wine.
After all, we are here for the drinking experience and not the note taking!
But in terms of all the wine journals, there’s none better than the following I learned while working a wine shop.
The best method I ever heard for keeping a wine journal
During an evening tasting event, a father walked in with his two boys. And they were pros. One son sat quietly on a case of wine and read a book. The other son drew in a notebook on his lap while following his Dad around the store, or so I thought.
After the father sipped the first wine at my station, the one son walked over with his notepad.
“What do you think Dad? Is it a circle?”
The Dad said, “Yeah, let’s do a circle for this one.”
The boy walked away, and he drew in his notebook.
Then, after the second wine the boy returned and asked, "What do you think, Dad?"
"This one's a heart," the Dad replied.
Before the son walked away, I asked him, “What do the circle and the heart mean?”
The boy explained, “Today, hearts are for ones we like. Circles are for ones that are okay. And down arrows are for ones that are YUCK!”
I smiled and said, “That’s quite a system you two have come up with!”
“Thanks,” said the boy. “The symbols change each time, but I make a key so we can always remember the good ones.”
So a couple things:
1) This guy deserves the Wine Father of the Year award for keeping his kids quietly engaged during a wine tasting.
2) This is the exact method you should be using!
But, you can ask yourself three questions:
- Does it taste good?
- Does it make me smile?
- Would I buy it again?
When you take notes, you’ll be able to compare different wines and how they made you feel.
You’ll start discovering patterns. Things you like fall in a certain price range or share similar varieties. And same for wines you dislike.
Let your taste be your guide. Not Robert Parker. Not Wine Enthusiast. Not even me.
This is about YOU!
So start experimenting with wine and find out what you like.
And there’s only one way to discover that:
Drink wine, keep a journal, read, study, repeat.
P.S. - If you want to swipe my tasting sheet, use this link to download it or add it to your Google Drive.