Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: LaCiCaDa

Wine tasting a way to curb alcoholism?

Posted by LaCiCaDa, Apr 9, 2013.

I am a new wine lover. A year or two ago I was having troubles staying away from 'the sauce'.  It wasn't alcoholism, per se, but it was getting to the point where I was spending much of my money and getting very little done. So, being that I am working in a fine dining restaurant, Carnevor Steakhouse in Milwaukee, WI, I decided to begin studying wines. I had noticed the different ways in which wines and liquors and beers were discussed, treated, and drunk! It seemed to me that wine lovers have a much more intimate relationship with their poison, meaning they can remain close to it without necessarily going 'over board', which is what I was doing with liquor, beer, etc.

I am very attracted to Gran Marnier, when it is stored correctly of course. Wow, that's something a wine person would say, right? So my love of cognac brought me to the knowledge that it is a wine! And Cognac is a region in France, just like Armagnac and Bourdeaux. What?! I've got to know more.

I haven't had much Gran Marnier recently. I've been studying Bourdeaux, as it seems to be the best place to start a wine adventure. So, I've got Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot on the menu. I am interested in reading about the area... it's a wonderful wine-growing region thanks to its geological position and its surrounding environment. Sitting inland of  the western coast of the Atlantic, a forest separates Bourdeaux from the salt winds coming off the ocean. There are a great number of terroirs represented, from clay, limestone to other rocky soils. The Geronde estuary seems like another added bonus to the region... fresh running water... the estuary then splits into two rivers near the city of Bourdeaux. The wineries in this region seem to have it made. That, and history shows us the trading that took place over the centuries with Germany, Switzerland, and perhaps even Africa and the Middle East. Bourdeaux is the place to begin.

So far these are the types of wines that I have enjoyed, more or less in the order from most interesting to least.

1. Syrah - I love the spiciness and acidity of these grapes. I love strong drink!

2. Madeira - this taste is so haunting that I will never forget it. I think of the sun when I drink it.

3. Barbaresco (Nebbiolo) - I had the pleasure of tasting a great Italian red - floral and deep.

4. Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon

5. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc - I have yet to try many whites, but these have proven solid.

6. Malbec - My brother is obsessed with this grape. Although the wines hes tried have most likely been blends rather than Malbec varietals, it captures his attention. I cannot yet tell its difference.

*** Please connect with me. I would love to talk about wine and learn more.


Reply by Welkja, Apr 9, 2013.


I, too live in Milwaukee and have been into wines since the (gasp) 1970's.   A great way to learn about wines and find out what you like would be to attend tastings in the Milwaukee area.  Click on the events tab after opening  your name to find Milwaukee tasting events. Waterford  Wine Company on Brady St on the East  side has tastings. Get on their mailing list. Other places with wine tastings are Vin 100, and Wine Thief . I  am attending a Barolo and Brunello tasting Saturday at Waterford wine as well as a Charles Woodson dinner with his wines on Friday at Bacchus. There are many Milwaukee events coming up so look at the event tab.
I hope this helps!
John W.
Reply by GregT, Apr 9, 2013.

No way is it a means to avoid alcoholism. Many people in the biz pretend they don't have problems but they're wrong. 

Good luck on your wine journey, but please do us all a favor, and yourself most of all, and take care of yourself!

BTW - Bordeaux is the place to begin? You didn't list a single wine from Bordeaux!

I don't think it's the place to begin or end, but that's just me. Find your own beginning and let's hope it doesnt' end for a long time!. Best!

Reply by Welkja, Apr 10, 2013.

I have never been to Carnevor so I looked at the website and saw it's high quality steak offerings and extensive wine list. It looks impressive!

Reply by amour, Apr 10, 2013.

Hi LACICADA!.......Kindly spell BORDEAUX as BORDEAUX!!!!

Big Welcome!!

You are becoming an expert on France, I see!!!!  Good luck!

You will learn a lot in this very friendly and accommodating SNOOTH environment!

Watch out for:   Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac

                           Chateau Margaux

                           Chateau Latour

                           Chateau Haut-Brion, Pessac, Graves

                           Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac

These are the BORDEAUX First Growths (PREMIERS CRUS)

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 11, 2013.

Welcome to Snooth!

We all share at least one thing, we love to talk about wine. You have so much left to discover, it's going to be an exciting ride. 



Reply by edwilley3, Apr 14, 2013.

I think that you mean Bordeaux grapes, Lacicada.  If you are able, I would suggest trying both new bottles and properly aged bottles of Bordeaux. The lesser Chateaux produce wine that is delicious, even if it's not as famous as the likes of Latour and Haut-Brion.

I would suggest learning about Rhone wines early in your adventure. Rhone wines - both on the cheaper end and at the elite level - are eminently drinkable. In many European restaurants a Cote de Rhone will be among the better of the "value" bottles. Even at retail, Rhone can represent a great value.  For example, a Hermitage (grape: syrah) from a great producer will be far cheaper than a first growth Bordeaux. With my volume discount (yes, I know that it's a problem!), I bought a 1994 La Chapelle Hermitage by Jaboulet in the first quarter of this year for $85. While not a grand year, it was still delicious. The indicated price was $100.

What I didn't see you mention is the difference between regional styles. For example, California chardonnay has a reputation for being buttery and oakey, whereas French chards (grown in different areas throughout France - theere's no single profile) taste cleaner. Contrast both of these with no-oak, all-steel chards from South America (Alamos chardonnay is really a great value and deliciously fruity at about $9) that are ready to drink today.

I am glad to see that you listed Madeira. I love Madeira in all its iterations. I was able to taste a 1927 Bastardo - a grape no longer produced commercially in any volume - at Plume in Washington, D.C. Wow!  It was amazing with the cheese course.

Finally, if you like fine food, I think that you should get yourself TO PLUME. The sommelier previously worked at French Laundry and was the Beverage Director at the Greenbrier. This dude KNOWS wine and is sure to take you on an adventure. Just be sure to save your money before you go. You will not walk out for less than $250 if you are at all adventurous.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 16, 2013.

I agree with GregT that becoming a wine geek will not be of much assistance if you have a proclivity to alcoholism.  Too easy to just keep sipping--I definitely drink more now that I drink mostly wine because there are so many more options and, unlike beer, no bloat and unlike hard liquor, no burn.  Plus it goes with so many things, and you mix up the pairings... lots of possible temptations there.  And lots of denial. 

You've got a pretty good list of grapes going there, but there will be many many more to discover.  I don't really think there is one place to start--Bordeaux's prominence is largely because it is easily accessible to the coast and therefore got exported to England, which was a huge colonial power with a navy that could propagate English culture and French grapes from Bordeaux all over the place.  Starting with what you like and what's accessible (for a Californian like me who grew up not far from Napa in the late 60s and early 70s, that meant Cabernet, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel) and just keep drawing the circle bigger and bigger to pull more places and more varieties.  I think winemakers should specialize to a degree (but there are some who just have a golden touch with so many grapes) but as a drinker of wine, I went from specializing in my local wines to celebrating geography, history and culture by expanding my horizons--wherever I go in the wine drinking world, I have something to talk about with the locals. 

Welcome to Snooth.

Reply by kona dave, Apr 16, 2013.


I'm new to Snooth, found the site after an extended visit to the Niagara wine region.

Spent alot of time ( and money in Peller ), we were in the private tasting room for about 4 hrs and learned alot and spent even more

I grew up around wine, my grandfather was a collector, he had a very large selection of Chateau Mouton Rothchild 1970 & 1971 ( 72 bottles of which we inherited ), we actually opened a bottle last weekend after coming home from Niagara.

I am by nature a craft beer "snob", I have never been a fan of mainstream beers, I have travelled a bit to craft breweries and would like to do the same with wineries.

We have been to Temeculah three times and really enjoy "Leonesse" winery, we have been members of their wine club for about 10 years, I would like to get up to Napa sometime this year so any input on where to go would be appreciated.

Looking forward to learning something more about wines on this site

Reply by EMark, Apr 16, 2013.

KDave, welcome to the Snooth Forum.  Most of us here know all about spending more than we planned on wine.

Also, it's possible you may have a problem with those seventy or so bottles of Mouton.  If you need help with them, put the word out here and I am sure several vounteers will step up.  ;-)

I am intrigued that you have visited Temecula three times.  I live an hour's drive from there and I'm pretty sure that in the last 25 years or so I've only visited there twice.  I guess that's shame on me.

There are numerous participants here who are very familiar with the Napa (and adjacent Sonoma) region.  I'm sure that as your timeframes become clearer, they will be able to offer you great advice.  As you might imagine, though, the topic has come up fairly often in the past.  Go to the "Search the Snooth Forum" box over to the right of the screen and search for previous threads on Napa visits.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 16, 2013.

KonaDave, I have no interest in inheriting money from my parents or grandparents.   I did nothing to earn it, and it holds no special memory--it's just money.  Somehow it feels wrong to "profit" by the death of my loved ones.  I understand that many people feel differently, but that's how I have always felt. 

On the other hand, if they left me 6 cases of first growth Bordeaux, I'd be pretty stoked.  Still sorry they were gone, but the fact that they lived well enough to have bought and I hope enjoyed some very good wine would bring back lots of good memories with every sip.  Dying with a lot of money is not necessarily a sign you lived well, but buying those when they were somewhat reasonably priced shows that you planned for your happiness, and that of others. Beats the heck out of a headline obit in the NY Times, too.

I'm great at toasts and eulogies if you want to turn those bottles into a special occasion.

Reply by kona dave, Apr 17, 2013.

EMARK & FOXALL thanks for your reply and yes we do have a problem with the Mouton, limited quantity!!

The bulk of it actually belongs to my mom, she gave a case to us after my grandmother died and continues to give a bottle here and there which we open only for special occasions as you well understand I am sure, it is not for kicking back to relax with.

Curious, what do you think of Temeculah wines? While I am by no means an expert, the wines I have had at Leonesse are what really got me interested in starting my own collection, our friends that used to live in Temeculah were friends with the owners of the winery, it helps to flame an interest when you get VIP treatment undeservedly.

I really am looking forward to following all of you around this site and learning more


Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 17, 2013.

I'm no expert on the wines of Temecula, but my local shop owner tasted them on a road trip a while back and lamented that distributors in Northern California aren't doing more with these wines. 

And I'd like to think the odd bit of VIP treatment I get is deserved, but no doubt, deserved or not, good treatment by a winery counts for a lot.  Places I have really enjoyed for the tasting room vibe and general treatment I received were Bell in Yountville (I'm a huge fan of Anthony and Sandra Bell), Porter Creek in the RRV, Gracianna (RRV) where OT's stepson makes the wine, Talty in DCV, Teldeschi and Unti (also DCV). 

Reply by kona dave, Apr 17, 2013.

I live in Northern Ohio, I have not found any wines from Temeculah as yet, Sonoma and Napa plenty to be had.

As far as VIP treatment goes, I certainly don't expect or deserve it as my tastes are not "as yet" refined enough, although I can tell good wine from swill, when we were at Niagara last week @ Peller Estates we had only tasted one of the 5 wines we were gonna taste downstairs, after one and some chit chat the guy who was helping us ( who happens to be a sommelier ) asked if we wanted to go upstairs, since the only other time I got that was at Leonesse in Temeculah I jumped on it half expecting to be pressured to buy some very expensive wines, but that did not happen, we spent 4 hours up there tasting and learning, never once pressured to buy.

In the end the other couple we were with bought ( 6 ) bottles and we bought ( 4 ) cases, a little dicey coming thru customs but we got thru.

But I agree the treatment you get goes a long way, and I really appreciated not being talked down to seeing as my knowledge is entry level.

Reply by EMark, Apr 17, 2013.

KDave, I just realized that my comments about Temecula may have been poorly written.  Even if my intent was not misinterpreted by anybody, I am going to clarify.

Temecula wines are, certainly, worthy of the attention of any wine lover.  Also, the experience of visiting Temecula tasting rooms is comparable to that experience in any other wine region.  One thing that I found in Temecula is that there is a consist tasting room fee of $10 for six tastes.  The other thing I found is that every tasting room ignores that six taste limit.  So, more often or not, the host/hostess will ask what else we would like to taste, or, maybe, offer a new release that is not even on their list of the day's tasting room wines.   It is also not uncommon to meet the winemaker (depending on the time of year, I'm sure) or the owner in the tasting room.

I have barked about this in the past, and I'm going to do it, again.  Temecula tasting rooms are the only ones I've seen that have tip jars on the counter.  I don't know why, but that really rubs me the wrong way.

I'm sure it is because of my proximity, but have seen Temecula wines in local retail stores.  Invariably, they are from the larger producers--South Coast, Mount Palomar or, of course, Callaway.

Based on your comments, the next time we go down there, I will make a point of checking out Leonesse.  Thanks for the tip.

Reply by kona dave, Apr 17, 2013.

Nothing mis-construed, I've been to quite a few tasting rooms though only twice to a private room, at Peller between ( 4 ) people I would bet you we tasted a total of four bottles worth of wine in four hours and we did not even pay a tasting fee but they more than got it back and the backside of that with all the wine we purchased, I was very impressed their and as you stated regarding tip jars...they had none.

When we were done I asked him about tips, he said they rarely got any but we gave him a fifty, felt what we got out of him that day in the way wine and education was well worth it.

Around our area in Ohio there are alot of wineries, not very impressive, just ordinary, but it is very common to see tip jars, but then most of the people there are there for one reason only and it is not to find the perfect glass of wine if you know what I mean.

But I do agree with you on the tasting limit for serious wine drinkers, I don't think going beyond is out of line for someone interested in good wines but the problem is you need to weed out the people looking for a quick buzz, which in my opinion is the bus tour groups ( hope I didn't offend anyone ) 

Reply by napagirl68, Apr 17, 2013.

Emark- I AGREE.

Lacicada-  sipping anything alcoholic is not going to help alcoholism!  LOL!   I think it is quite common for those with drinking problems to try to "switch up" their poison in order to moderate.  But that is an individual decision one has to make for themselves.

Kona Dave,  Welcome!

Reply by stevepokal, May 5, 2013.

i dont know man, i find myself using the 'wine doesnt really keep well' excuse to finish the bottle if i really enjoy the wine, so theres definitely room for increased drinking with tasting new wines haha


i think france is a good place to start with wines because it is has a long history of producing good wines and their grapes are found all over the world. its a good way to get an introduction to the different varietals and since they are labeled by region, gets you learning about terroir and other things that affect the grapes.

this coming from a wine novice of course, but this is more or less the basis of my journey.

Reply by JenniferT, May 5, 2013.

I don't think this is going to be a very popular answer....but I am not so keen to dismiss drinking wine as a way to curb your intake of alcoholic beverages - assuming (and it seems like I may be assuming a lot, no offence) that you have not already developed a more serious problem in terms of alcoholism. 

That said, when I compare my experiences drinking wine to going out and having mixed drinks, beers, seems *generally* true that people who appreciate wine are drinking it, first and foremost, for taste. And there seems like there is much more to be aware of and taste in wine, compared to most beers (non-artisinal) and mixed drinks, etc. Wine is more nuanced.....and engaging. 

Personally I can imagine being much more satisfied with 1-2 glasses of wine than a mixed drink or 1-2 beers....after all, beer seems to just get you started and onto something else. Also, you tend to savor and appreciate wine - there are no social rounds of shots, etc. I think there are more environments where you can go out and enjoy wine without the additional social pressure to drink more. That might be a significant factor, especially if you work in the restaurant business. It important for you to try to surround yourself with people whose habits aren't too destructive.  

So MAYBE you could use some controlled wine drinking as a way to learn to taste and appreciate foremost, if your previous primary reason for drinking is to get that sweet alcohol into your bloodstream. It might help you to learn to drink for taste, not alcohol...

Actually I think YOU are the best person to answer your own question....ask yourself if you are finding it easier to drink wine in smaller amounts, if it is easier to enjoy wine without having it interfere with other aspects of your life or responsibilities.

It is arguably a dangerous experiment...most importantly, you first need to be certain that you can make the call on this one fairly - for your own good....unfortunately not everyone is able to drink responsibly. The saddest thing of all would be failing to recognize it if you fall into that category. 

Good luck and take care.

Back to Categories

Popular Topics

  • posts

Top Contributors This Month

847804 Snooth User: EMark
6 posts
472290 Snooth User: jackwerickson
3 posts
324443 Snooth User: outthere
3 posts


View All

Snooth Media Network