Being a Wino in Beer City USA


Being a Wino in Beer City USA

  • AVLwinegeek

    Andy Hale has worked in the wine industry for over a decade, first as a server and later as a Sommelier for the 5-Star 5-Diamond rated Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island, located...

So when I call myself a Wino, I just mean that I’m a big fan of booze made out of grapes. There isn’t really a great word to describe that without sounding pretentious. There is “wine connoisseur”, which makes me feel like I should be wearing an ascot and monocle, or “oenophile” which sounds like an invertebrate sea creature that just washed up on shore.  I’m pretty sure that “wine enthusiast” is trademarked, so I’ll just call myself a Wino. Although, to be fair I enjoy beer and liquor as well as wine. For me, wine has always been something to keep my dinner company, whereas beer is great for socializing and grilling, and liquor is mainly for when I’m out on the town and I want to feel like I’m James Bond.

Don't judge


But although I enjoy them all, wine is the only one that can seem a little snobby or aristocratic sometimes. Some people like to flaunt their wine knowledge and make other people feel intimidated about which wine they should order in a restaurant or bar. There is a sense that there is a “right” and a “wrong” choice for a bottle of wine, and that if you choose the “wrong” one you will look like an uncultured peasant. It’s a shame because this makes people who might be interested in wine feel too intimidated to try it out, and beer seems to be more laid back and less snobby. Although if you don’t think beer can be snobby, try ordering a Miller Light at your favorite Asheville bar! Seriously, the music on the Jukebox would scratch to a halt!

You want WHAT?


So for my first post, I wanted to give you an idea of what kind of blog this is going to be. First, this is a blog about wine and Asheville (obviously). Second, my view is that wine is a delicious drink that can range from poetry in a glass to something fun to sip while you are grilling out, and there is room in this world for both of them! There are no wrong answers  and there will be no snobbery here.  One of my favorite Master Sommeliers (and author of the Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert), Richard Betts, once said “Wine is a grocery, not a luxury” and I completely agree! For me, tasting wine can be an emotional experience and even life changing (well, maybe DAY changing anyway!), but when it comes down to it, we are just talking about fermented grape juice here.


One day…


My goal for this blog is to report on new trends in the world of wine, from an insider’s view. New wines that you should rush out and try! I’d like to educate also. I will likely get into some light geography and talk a little bit about dirt and it may get a little geeky from time to time. It’s just kind of my style.  I’ll also give you some practical tips from time to time about how to get the most enjoyment out of your wines and to impress your friends with your wine skills and knowledge!

I would also love for this to be the sort of blog where you can write in with any questions that you might have about wine, but were afraid to ask. Such as does drinking rosé wine make me less of a man? (it doesn’t) or does smelling the cork when I’m out at a restaurant make me look like a jerk? (it does). Basically what I’m saying is write me with your questions and I will answer them for you. Otherwise I’ll just talk about terroir and dirt and other nerdy stuff!

Oh my god this cork smells DIVINE! Can I smell your wine opener too?


So happy tasting until next time. There is a lot of wine out there and it isn’t going to drink itself!