The extent of my wine expertise consists of saying “Look at the legs on this one” as I swirl my $5 Pinot Noir in my glass before unashamedly guzzling it down. Apparently, I am a bit of an anomaly among my generation. Last year, research from Wine Access, a site that brings consumers with the best wine, found that Millennials are willing to pay more for better quality. In fact, almost half of consumers are Millennials. My generation grew up with wine being a part of every day life and easily accessible. We’re also more likely to drink wine out of bags-in-boxes or even cans. The high rate of consumption compared to other generations can be explained by our desire to spend money on experiences instead of material things—wine adds to these experiences! So here are some ideas that will leave you and your friends saying, “L’Chaim!” as you get your wine on:
While it’s part of the California experience to go on tastings at local wineries, it’s a rather expensive one. It usually costs $20-25 per person for ONE tasting. Instead, why not host your own with your friends? Just have everyone bring their favorite wine. Or you can even take it a step further and do a blind wine tasting. This is where all the guests don’t know who brought which wine. After trying all of them, everyone guesses who brought what. The host can even offer wine-themed gifts for the winner who has the most correct guesses as well as for the winner who brought the most-liked wine.
Wine Arts & Crafts
Why not repurpose some of those wine bottles into a gift like a cheese plate or something a little more useful like for a garden? Both these ideas include methods and tools that require participants to be completely sober. The last thing you want is someone who is tipsy to hurt themself while cutting or melting glass. If you prefer something a little less dangerous and one that will allow you to drink while doing it, then painting your wine bottles is a great alternative. Why spend over $30 to attend one of those painting and wine classes that often don’t include a glass of wine with the cost of admission? All you need to do is soak your bottles in hot soapy water, and then scrub the label off with some steel wool. Use acrylic (or alcohol paint if you’re feeling punny) to add on your designs. In place of the cork, put string lights (craft stores like Michael’s and JoAnn’s sell them in packs and often have coupons year-round). If you’re like me and choose wine based on the artistry of the labels, you can skip the painting and just add the lights!
With your newly-crafted wine lights setting the ambiance, put on your favorite TV show as you enjoy your wine with friends. Whether you’re watching reruns of Olivia Pope taking a break from fixing other people’s scandals or Tyrion Lannister who drinks and knows things, it’s a lot more fun when you’re drinking along with them. Speaking of Game of Thrones, my friend and I like to pretend we’re Cersei and drink our wine out of big glasses as we watch the newest episodes. Don’t worry that’s the only Cersei-like quality that we emulate! We can’t wait to restart our tradition come April! Winter is coming—and so is more wine!
DVORAH LEWIS IS a contributing writer to jlife magazine.