I am, above all things, a fancy person. I am also, below a few other things but above many others, a broke person. The two generally don’t vibe very well, but I have a penchant for making it work.

A few years ago, some lovely person introduced me to Lambrusco, which was sweet and fizzy and enough like punch to get me interested in wine. I’d always previously believed that 1) I hated wine and 2) developing an appreciation for it would be too costly for me to pursue until my general lifestyle caught up with my hopes and dreams. I actually believed and said aloud on many occasions that wine enthusiasts were mostly just pretending, because “wine is universally horrible.” Except for the dutty type.

Oh, what a FOOL I was! None of those things are true in the least. Wine is 1) one of the greatest developments in the gastronomic history of mankind (behind fried porkchops and those little fried noodles Chinese restaurants pack with your soup) and 2) not as expensive as previously believed. If I’d known a bottle of wine doesn’t usually run you more than $15 on the high end, I would have tried it ages ago!

But I need to know what to expect before potentially wasting $7-$14 on something I don’t like. Buying by the bottle or? glass in a restaurant always carries significant markup, so that’s not a cost effective way to try new things either. The ticket: wine tastings. Until I was taken to my first one last year, I thought I’d be unwelcome as a wine beginner… but I was wrong again! I haven’t only fallen in deep like with wine, I’m in love with tastings as a social and practical concept. Small flat fee, samples of a bunch of different things… it’s like going on a little food or drink adventure!

I am sure that there are other similarly a-fanced and similarly a-poored yet equally a-curioused individuals as myself who would love to try such things but don’t know where to begin, so I’m paying my good fortune forward. Every week for the next few weeks, I’ll make a point to go to a wine/beer/coffee/chocolate/cupcake/whiskey tasting in or around Charlotte (or wherever life happens to take me). Yes, all the things I listed exist. I’m not an expert on anything but hopefully I’ll put someone on to something new they wouldn’t have tried before, and VERY hopefully I’ll find new fun spots to hit up in the process. First up is McNinch House, where my adventure began (review pending, as soon as I sleep off tonight’s sampling.)

Have a suggestion for where I should go next? Post it here and/or Facebook me at KinkyThought (like my page, too!) And by all means, if you wanna come along gimme a holler!