It’s a new year and for a lot of people that means giving something up or taking up something new. I’ve heard of people giving up fast food or joining a gym so they can work out more. If you’re looking for a resolution, my suggestion to you would be to try something new in the wine world. Here’s why: it’s fun! There is an aspect of exploration and recreation study you won’t mind doing, and you get to drink wine literally the entire time. What is the best way to do this besides running out and buying multiple bottles you’ve never tried? Wine dinners.

One of the best ways to discover wines and have a blast doing it is wine dinners. I believe most people make up their minds that they don’t like a varietal and vow never to drink it again. My personal philosophy is if you don’t like a varietal, it’s because you haven’t found the right one. The most alluring aspect of a wine dinner is that you are no longer in control. Once you sit down at the table and dinner starts, you lose the ability to not order a Merlot or a Riesling because you think you don’t like them. You are allowing professionals to take a wine from anywhere in the world and strategically pair it with food created by a local chef at a local restaurant.

Pairings are not arbitrary. They are created based on subtle or bold flavors in the wines and then those flavors are replicated on the plate. A dish can be paired with a specific wine because of complimentary or contrasting flavors or textures. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon pairs beautifully with steak because of its tannin structure. The sometimes-gritty, sometimes-velvety texture can help to break down the fat in that steak while providing a glorious background of fruit and earth to compliment that spectacular cut of meat. Sommeliers, chefs, and wine professionals spend time studying these pairings to create a cohesive experience for their dinners. How and where do you sign up for one?

There are multiple restaurants in Shreveport-Bossier City that host wine dinners regularly. Sometimes they feature one wine maker, one region, or a particular style. Sometimes they are based off a vision that a Sommelier has created for a specific event. In our business, we can find any reason to put a great glass of wine with a great plate of food. Lucky Palace and Wine Country Bistro host wine dinners with multiple courses. They are pricey (ranging from $75-$115) but they are educational. Plus, you’re the guest of honor. I know those prices seem steep but the same wine dinner in New Orleans or a larger city easily costs $150-$175 a person.

So grab a date with an open mind and try something new. Let someone else pick out your wines and show you the magic of pairing at least once this year.