Wine for Beer Drinkers: Where to start?

[Ed.: Today we have a guest post from Adolpho Nunez (@CincyBeachBum on Twitter), a volunteer who responded to my call for some help on the wine front. Hopefully this will be the first of many times we’ll be hearing from him!]

As drinkers, we’ve all had different reasons for picking up a glass of wine at one time or another: maybe we want to impress a date, or its a grown up party your significant other is making you attend, or maybe that’s all the wedding was serving. For one reason or another, there will come a time when wine will be the drink of the moment. And, as with any drink, why not enjoy it?

Personally, I consider myself a beer guy, but I’m not a homebrewer. I never got caught up in the “craft” of craft beer. I’m the same way with wine. I’m simply on the hunt for a drink that lifts my spirits, complements my meal, or numbs my head. I’ll take two of the three any given Friday.

With that being said, its easy to be intimidated by knowledgeable drinkers in both the beer and wine camps (“snobs” if you want to call them that). But, here’s the thing. Most people can’t tell the difference between a 10 dollar and a 100 dollar bottle of wine, so with that in mind, I’ll be focusing on those great bottles you can take to a party that are under 20 dollars, which will make people will say “Damn, that guy knows his wine”

But, to start, here is a quick rundown of some resources to help you get started on your quest to become a more well rounded drinker, because no one is paying me to tell you what to drink (yet….)

1. Your local Kroger: If you’ve never gone to a tasting there, I highly recommend them, especially Madeira, Montgomery, Hyde Park, and Mariemont. For a dollar a (generous) pour, the stewards there will highlight 3 or 4 wines of different varieties, usually 2 whites, 2 reds. And you’ll get some snacks or even a meal out of it for free. Most of the time their wines clock in under 15 dollars. And you can even walk around the store with your glass. Sip and Shop!

2. Oakley Wines: This shop near Oakley square specializes in the under 20 dollar bottle, and they will showcase 6 wines, usually revolving around a theme or a region, so you can really see the subtle differences in the wines. They just moved into a new location, so look them up online. I hear it’s 10 dollars a taste, but have not been since they moved. Will update when I go back.

3. Everything D’vine: This downtown shop on 4th Street also specializes on sub 20 dollar bottles, plus they have an excellent beer selection of harder to find beers. Their selection is always rotating, and they have a steady stream of tastings. Their tastings are 15 dollars on friday with appetizers, or saturdays for 1 dollar a pour. Haven’t been to this one yet, but their staff is stellar and will help you out.

4. My wife: Seriously, she nerds out on these things, and over the last couple of years I’ve seen her palate evolve from nothing but sweet rieslings, to having cabs, malbecs, and bold red blends as her go-to wines. She teaches me a lot, and I’m sure we all have a wine drinker in our social circle that’s just dying to share what they like.

Thanks for sticking with me this far, see you at happy hour!

 Adolfo is a Los Angeles native who has fallen in love with the Queen City. His mission is to discover, and celebrate Cincinnati, one bottle at a time. 

2 thoughts on “Wine for Beer Drinkers: Where to start?”

  1. I’ll shamelessly plug ourselves, don’t forget Dutch’s. We have over 200 facings, 15 glass pours to sample, and have been focusing on sub $20 wines since 2007. Like other wine shops on this list, WE CARRY WINES THAT KROGER CAN’T! We achieve this by using wholesalers who choose not to sell to grocery chains. We also have plenty of farmstead cheeses and cured meats hand-cut to-go to pair with your selections!


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