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I made a bucket list and learning more about wine was on the top. I love a good glass of wine, but have absolutely no idea what I’m drinking. This is something I need to master in this life of mine.

So I started trolling the web to learn more. I found “Wine 101,” ”A Beginner’s Guide to Wine,”  and ”Wine for Winos.” Really?

But as I started reading, I realized that’s not the way to do it. 

Instead, I’ve decided to drink more.

Yep. Not because becoming an alcoholic is also on my bucket list, but because I need to research. 

For starters, this week I sat down with Steven Veldren, the northeast regional sales manager for Rutherford Wines, and asked him for a quick starter kit of tips for learning the language of wine.

Here are Steven’s five tips:

No. 1: Drink what you like, regardless of whether you can taste the bark, currant or black olive. It doesn’t matter. 

And when ordering wine, don’t be embarrassed to ask for suggestions or send something back if you don’t like it. It’s no sweat off the sommelier’s (i.e., wine server’s) back. They’ll just send the bottle back to the distributor and get a credit for it.

The old-school rule is to drink red with meats and red sauce, white wines with fish and poultry. But if you think your chicken needs a nice glass of red, go for it.

No. 2: Next, there are a bunch of different grapes – or varietals -- so let’s quickly mention them. 

In the red family, from lightest to heaviest: 
· Cabernet Sauvignon 
· Merlot 
· Syrah/Shiraz 
· Pinot Noir 
· Zinfandel

And your white grapes: 
· Chardonnay 
· Sauvignon Blanc 
· Riesling 
· Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

No. 3: The different grape isn’t the only thing that affects the taste of a wine. The type of soil, the weather and the fermentation process also play a huge role. Fermentation is the chemical process of turning the actual grape into wine. You need a big barrel, sugar, yeast, and some other stuff. A Pinot Noir grape grown in Australia, fermented in an oak barrel, will produce a very different wine then the same grape grown in Californian during a rainy season, then tossed into a stainless-steel barrel.

No. 4: Oxygen and sunlight are the two enemies of wine. If a wine gets too much of either, it’s probably not going to taste good. That’s why people stick their nose in a glass to smell it. Bad smell, bad wine.

No. 5: If someone tells you to look at the legs, it’s not what you think. It’s how the wine sticks to the glass when you swirl it around. The more alcohol in the wine, the more that will stick to the sides when the swirling stops. The wine then will slowly slide down your glass -- like little legs.

Oh – and here’s your catch-phrase of the day: sustainable farming.  That’s starting to pop up on wine labels. It basically means the grapes are being raised on land that’s being recycled and used again. (The greenies even infiltrated the wine business.)

Whew. Confused yet?  Me, too. Then enough for our first lesson, from here on out – we drink. And I’ll share each experience with all of you.

In my family, when we toast, we raise our glasses and say “Cent’ Anni.”  (Connie Corleone said that in the Godfather Part 2, for what it’s worth.)

It means we should all live happily for a hundred years.

So raise your glass.  This is going to be fun.

Cent’ Anni.

Don't miss Tracy's live online show every weekday from 12-12:50pm ET