As we move into the fall months, the leaves are changing and I can’t help but think of some of the changes I want to make in my life. I know it’s not New Years yet, so I don’t have to think of a resolution, per se.

How about a wine bucket list? There is no particular end date, just a list of things that I think every wine lover should partake in. It helps you to expand your knowledge of wine.

These suggestions are not listed in any particular order.


Visit a local winery
There are so many new wineries popping up in Tennessee and all over the country. If you haven’t been to your local winery, then there is no reason to turn your nose up to it. Try it! If you have already been to your closest winery, then go to the next closest winery. It’s an exploration of wine.

Drink all of the first growth wines of Bordeaux
“Serious wine drinkers need to drink one of each of the first growths,” said Josh Carter, wine director at St. John’s Restaurant, said. “It’s a right of passage. They are rare, hard-to-get finds and if you get a chance to taste them, then why not?” The first growths that Carter is referring to are the wines listed in the first tier within the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux wine. They are among the most expensive wines in the world. It definitely should be part of any wine lover’s bucket list.

Try a mixed case of wine for $100
Many people frequent a particular wine shop for all of their wine buys. Ask them if they can come up with a mixed case of wine for you. Tell them to pick wines they think you will like and chose different producers that you may not have tried before. This is the one of the best ways to expose your palate to new wines. It’s also important that every bottle in the case be different.

Try wine that’s been aged at the bottom of the ocean
Yes, that’s right, wine that is aged at the bottom of the ocean. Think about it, it’s perfect and genius. It is dark, cool, and temperature controlled (somewhat). I am not sure why we didn’t think of this sooner. Many people have said that wine that was recovered from sunken ships had a unique and delicious taste to it. I have not personally had any wine like this, but that’s why it’s on this list.

Try a variety you’ve never tried before
I am a big believer in trying new things, especially grape varieties. We wine lovers can get it in our heads that we only like one particular style of wine. But most people haven’t tried every kind of wine out there. So the next time you are at the wine store or a restaurant, ask the server or sommelier to pick out a grape variety that you may have never heard of before. Servers and sommeliers all like a challenge.The variety can be similar to wine you like at first, but the point is to step outside of your comfort zone.

Saber a bottle of champagne
I’ve seen people saber a bottle of champagne, but I’ve never had the luxury of doing it. No, I am not afraid. I have just always been beat to it. One of these days, I will take that beautiful saber and slice off the top part of the champagne bottle. One day, hopefully soon.

Go to a grape stomp

A wine stomp is probably one of the more challenging bucket list items, unless you do it at home. To find someone that will let you press their grapes is tough but not impossible. I’ve heard of some local wineries doing a wine stomp. Georgia Winery, for example, has their annual grape stomp on October 5th.

Try a wine from a different country
Have you ever had a wine from Israel? Austria? Greece? There are so many wine countries in the world, you should trya wine that is not your “normal.”

Plan a trip to wine country
Speaking from experience, wine country is one of the most majestic places to be for anyone interested in wine. The people that work there are among the most passionate people I have ever met. They believe strongly in the products they produce. Try and visit at least once in your lifetime. You won’t regret it.

Attend a winemaker’s dinner at a restaurant
It seem as though I see a new “wine dinner” every week. Winemaker dinners are a great experience because they are the true experts of the wine they are pouring.

Michelle Richards, is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Along with hosting wine tastings for local organizations, she serves up wine goodness at St. John’s Restaurant. You can contact her by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.