How to Like Wine with Other People

Starting a Wine Club is Less Intimidating Than it Seems

Not everyone likes wine. Not everyone has a desire to even try it.

And the reasons vary across the board—from not having anyone to try it with to being intimidated to take a sip. The wine world can seem a little nose-in-the-air sometimes, but it turns out, it’s pretty simple to dive right in, and become a damn-near professional at wine-tasting. Even better when you’re surrounded by people you enjoy and with a glass of wine in hand. All clubs should be more like wine clubs. In fact, all clubs should be like Brown Girls Wine Club—a group of women breaking down the intimidation barrier and making their way into the world of wine.

And here’s how you can do it too.

A Guide to Start A Wine Club With the ladies from Brown Girls Wine Club
Group photograph of the Brown Girls Wine Club. Several women stand next to each other, each smiling.

Step 1: Take a sip

First things first, you just have to start drinking. Not too shabby of a first step. Get acquainted and find some things you like. A personal preference is a good start. Even going to tastings alone is a step in the right direction. That’s how Donna started and look where she is now.

Don’t be afraid not to like it. If you don’t want to pair the wine with the food being suggested, don’t pair it. Life is too short to drink bad wine. That’s the point of tasting. They’re just guidelines anyway.

Darryal smiling. She has short black hair and wears a red scarf.

I think all of us had a basic interest in wine and food and when the group came together, that’s when we really began to focus on it.

Darryal, The Guideline Breaker

Step 2: Find other humans

Anyone who likes wine and food. Which at this point, we would say quite a few of those people exist. Maybe it’s not your closest friends or your partner, but the foodies and the drinkers exist. If you are in need of someone to drink and eat with, please contact anyone in the table of contents, as we are happy to oblige.

The ideal cast looks a little something like this:

  • the visionary
  • the creative one
  • the guideline breaker
  • the top shelf
  • the fun lightweight

Gotta keep the balance. A different role for everyone—really just a group of personalities that are vastly different, but mesh well over the taste of a nice glass of wine. Even the lightweight, who has to have her portions monitored by the other ladies, is a part of Brown Girls Wine Club. A couple tastes here and there, but it becomes more than just drinking wine. It’s a friendship and a comradery where everyone starts to understand each other.

Step 3: Explore

Start exploring with these new friends. Instead of going to solo tastings, start going as a small group. Learn from one another’s preferences and start to dip your toes in other wines. Figuratively, that is. Let the red wine drinkers convince the white wine drinkers to take a sip of something new and vice versa. Start adventuring to new wineries, take some trips, have wine tastings at home. The opportunities are endless. And really, so are the wines.

Step 4: Relax and enjoy what you’re tasting.

Wine is intimidating. We may all have some pretentious predispositions about the wine world. Snooty somms that walk around like they know way more than you ever could. Wineries are often much more inviting than the restaurants that have that big snazzy list with the fancy writing and you have no idea what you’re really reading and everyone else seems to have way more knowledge than you about it all. It happens. But at a winery, you get to see every step of it, not just the fancy bottle with the ritzy price tag and no idea about what it’s going to taste like.

Having people around you to discuss the wines makes it a whole hell of a lot less daunting. People who work at wineries are inviting and happy to walk you through what you may not know about. If you really open up, you’ll end up drinking wine straight from the barrel and dancing in the streets. At least that’s what happened at Brown Estate Vineyards when the BGWC went. Seems pretty inviting to us.

At Brown, they welcomed us like we were family. They took their time and answered our questions and I didn’t feel intimidated to ask questions in that environment.

Latabia, The Creative One

Being around others when trying new things makes it less nerve-racking and instills confidence that wouldn’t have been obtained before. Which makes taking the new knowledge and experience outside of the group to work functions or family gatherings that much easier and more enjoyable.

Step 5: Make a schedule and make it happen.

Carving out time to spend with friends is important enough. Add wine and food to the equation and it will crawl up the priority ladder. The Brown Girls Wine Club makes it fun by rotating who is hosting and what the theme will be.

Some themes to get you started:

  • Spanish Tapas Night: small plates, sangrias and Spanish wines
  • Jamaican Night: Jamaican jerk, libations, and maybe even a pool party to go with it
  • Portugal Night: Paella and Portugese wines
  • Tasting Nights: everyone brings a different bottle

And don’t forget it doesn’t always have to be at home:

  • Going on trips to wineries
  • Going out to restaurants/bars
  • Going to play golf
Two women hold wine glasses and look toward the camera, both smiling. Each wears a red scarf.

I would tell someone who is curious but intimidated to just be open-minded and adventurous about tasting.

Coyea, The Top Shelf

Step 6: Make a bucket list

Start local and expand as you go. Wineries, restaurants, cities, countries. The limit does not exist. New experiences in different places keep opening new doors to different wines, foods, cultures, and memories.

Some Brown Girls Wine Club favorites and future destinations:

  • Napa valley
  • North Carolina mountains
  • Georgia
  • Paris
  • Portugal
  • Italy
  • Korea

Most importantly, make it fun. Wine is for everyone. Including you.