Updated: Feb 26
As you probably already know, there really is no time to be "found" when you are a mom. There is only time to be magically created.
Focused and diverse tastings are key in wine learning. While this is a truly fun assignment, it's also time consuming and requires a certain degree of preparation. If you are going to taste a red wine, for example, you should open the bottle at least 30mins. prior so it can "breath". Otherwise, you will not have the complete experience.
Another important factor to consider is that food changes how wine tastes, so even though wine and food go hand in hand, doing the wine by itself will provide the more subjective appreciation. You can then think about or try possible food pairings for a determined wine you already tasted. Last, it is important to take notes. Get yourself an inexpensive wine journal and write what comes to mind when you taste a new bottle or a new vintage. These notes don’t need to start as crazy, sommelier “new tennis balls aromas” kind of descriptors, but as you taste more and more wines, you will see a natural progress on what you write.
Here's some tips I've learned about tasting while mothering through trial and error.
While the main goal of wine tasting is not to get you drunk, this is certainly a possibility. Depending on the wine's ABV (alcohol by volume), a 2oz. pour is enough for a critical tasting. Although that doesn't sound like much, alcohol affects everyone in different ways under different circumstances, so you should always make sure to be in a safe environment, and never hesitate to call a ride. And, though it may sound like a wasteful and impolite practice, don’t be afraid to spit out your wine! It is actually a standard in professional tastings. Do keep in mind that even if you don't swallow the wine, some alcohol is still absorbed by your body.
Wine on tap!
Bars/restaurants with wine on tap are a great option to taste a few different types without committing to a full glass (usually 5oz.). Most of these places offer at least 2 different size options and different price ranges. My favorite spots are Brady's Wine Warehouse (nothing beats sipping and shopping), W.I.N.O. (largest selection), and Copper Vine, which also is a great restaurant.
Tasting at home
This is probably your best bet in terms of time and safety, but it also has its complications, aka, little munchkins running amok. It took me a while to figure out what NOT to do: come home with the kids, open a bottle to let it rest, process school bags, pour a glass and let it rest some more, start dinner, take a sip to prime the mouth, check on the rice, chase the kids around, back for another sip as things are getting intense, and then, before I knew it, I had gone through a glass and had zero notes to show for.
I know better now, for the sake of wine and for the sake of me! I still go through our regular routine and wait until my 2-year old goes to bed, send toddler over with Dad, and proceed to happy walk towards my office/tiny cellar. Even 5mins. of exclusive attention may greatly improve your senses for tasting. Also, this way, you don't need to have more than a glass, and you can save the rest of your bottle and pair tomorrow's dinner.
Tasting can become your happy place and your "me" time.