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Tasting Wine at the Least Intimidating Wine Store on Earth

Get ready for the upcoming Riverfront Wine Festival
WineStyles unique process seperates wines into specific taste profiles, called "styles"
Published on July 26, 2010

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The Riverfront Wine Festival and WineStyles are a beautiful marriage, both committed to educating people about the joys of wine. We’ll be giving away Grand Tasting and VIP tickets to the August 28-29 Festival later this summer (check the Event Calendar for more details), but first, we caught up with Bob Bolden, owner of the WineStyles in Shoppes at Aksarben, to learn a little about how to get the most out of a wine tasting and what to expect at the festival.

While some consider wine tastings to be strictly the province of oenophiles (i.e. wine connoisseurs), WineStyles exists to dispel the myth that you have to spend a lot or know a lot  to enjoy a good bottle of wine. WineStyles is a national chain (they’ve opened over 140 stores since 2004), but for those typically averse to corporate America, hear this one out. WineStyles has grown so quickly because it’s a damn good idea, and the stores, many individually owned, serve as social hubs for the wine community.

Simply put, WineStyles is the least intimidating wine store on earth.

Instead of separating grapes by varietal or region like most shops—which admittedly does seem like a pretty logical idea—WineStyles separates wines into taste profiles: Crisp, Silky, Rich and Bubbly for whites, Fruity, Mellow, Bold and Nectar for reds—which seems like an even more logical idea.

They take the guess work out of buying wines. Instead of assuming that you’ll like a Chardonnay because Chardonnays are normally buttery and oaky, WineStyles has gone to the trouble of tasting the wines, categorizing them, and suggesting food pairings. For someone like me, a neophyte with a battery acid palette, the concept made perfect sense.

All this makes WineStyles the perfect foil for the Riverfront Wine Festival, an event that bridges the gap between wine newbies and wine experts. In only its second year, the Festival has already expanded to include 200 wines, 25 beers, 10 VIP Experiences, eight wine seminars, and six bands, over the course of its two days.

In our interview with Bob, we talk about how to get the most from the Festival. Whether it’s choosing your wine style, doing a tasting, or picking the appropriate glassware and decanting, there’s certainly a little bit to learn to enjoy wine properly—it just doesn’t have to be intimidating!

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If you’re into wine, or thinking about getting into it, join WineStyles for a tasting before the Festival begins. Unlikely for a corporate store, their numerous wine events seem totally organic, enthusiastic, and welcoming. And if you drink more than two bottles of wine a month (most less than $25), they say a membership in their wine club will save you money. Who are we to argue?

Enjoy learning about wine, drinking wine, and check back soon for your chance to win tickets to the Riverfront Wine Festival!

jordyAn writer since 2008, Jordy freely admits he's waiting for his golden parachute "anxiously." He microblogs @jordyclements + macroblogs