Meet "The Wine Coach"!

Laurie Forster AKA The Wine Coach has done what most people have only dreamed of. She has taken her passions, combined them, and turned it all into a wildly successfull career.
She says it all started when she was a sales executive and would spend a lot of her time taking clients to dinner. Learning how to order wine became a tool, as well as part of her job. Soon that developed into a love for wine. Later she went to The Manhattan chapter of the American Sommelier Association to become certified in Viticulture and Vinification. She also trained to become a life coach. Combining her love of people and wine, she has become The Wine Coach, and one of the nations most sought after wine experts, and event hosts. Laurie has also written an award winning book called “The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine,” and wine is a columnist for several magazines. Not to mention she makes regular appearances as a guest expert on radio and television shows!
Here is a little look into the type of work she does and you can see she not only knows what she is talking about, but she has an amazing energy about her that makes you want to learn from her!
I have been granted the wonderful opportunity to chat a little with Mrs. Forster, and although I have a million questions for her, I wanted to take it easy and see if I can get some answers to everyday questions we all may have. Hopefully one day soon I can sit down and have a wine tasting with her too!! *wink wink Laurie! :)
So without any further hesitation, I present to you The Wine Coach!

TBFB: Hi Laurie, So when thinking about what to ask this memory popped into my head, and I saw you had a similar experience, so I thought I would ask. Once I was out to dinner as a guest, and I was the only person at the table that was not wealthy. They (to be nice I assume) handed me the wine list to select for the table. I had no idea what to do.  There was a trophy wife there, so I just asked her what she would like me to order because I knew no one would argue with her. What would you suggest someone does if they find themselves in a situation like that, and they aren't seated next to a trophy wife?
 TWC: Pick out a trophy wine to match of course...the more expensive the better! Just kidding but this is a sticky situation. I would ask some questions of the table about what they like in wines and what kind of wine they usually order. Understanding what meals everyone is choosing works too. Myself I would stick to the mid-priced wines unless they tell you to splurge then go for it! Also if you know of a new and different wine that they might not have tried for instance, an Argentinean Malbec or a Chilean Carmenere, this might be the time to show off your wine skills! These are two of my favorite value priced reds these days Ordering wine of a wine list can be a tricky thing in any situation and I offer a free audio CD that lays out my 7 Secrets to Flawlessly Ordering Wine Off Any Wine List at Its downladable to your iPod or I'll send you the audio CD right to your mailbox.

TBFB:  I am so downloading that ASAP! Along the same lines of being saved from embarrassment, I have another question. I like my red wine cold. Is that a sin? Are there any reds (bedsides a sparkling red) that SHOULD be served cold?

TWC: There are NO sins in the world of wine as long as you drink what you like! The reds that are best served with a chill are lighter, fruitier reds like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir and reds with a bit of sweetness. Drier more tannic reds like Cabernet Sauvignon will taste bitter if chilled so avoid those. I just did a fun article about a few chillable reds on  my column at the Communities for The Washington Times. People in the wine world make it seem if you don't like dry wine that you are not a serious wine drinker and its just snobbery. Article:
TBFB: I have been noticing a trend in wine shops that there are a lot of new wines, such as the Lustig Gruner Veltliner, that come in bottles that look more like large beer bottles than wine bottles. Even have bottle caps instead of a cork or twist top. Is this a new way to bottle, or just something new to the states?
 TWC: There are tons of new packaging options that are being embraces as we move toward a greener existence. Screw caps are no longer social suicide and wines from $10 to $100 are using caps to avoid cork taint that can cost winery's millions of dollars and make a wine taste awful. This is a big controversy in the wine world though and I don't expect it to be solved anytime soon. Bottom line is is your wine has a natural cork you have to check each bottle on opening for being what we call "corked" which means the cork was infected with TCA or trichloroanisole which makes the wine smell and taste like a mildew basement. If you have a screw cap TCA is not a problem. On the flip side cork supporters point out that caps have a larger carbon footprint than using renewable cork. I say lighten up and enjoy your wine!
Boxed wines are also getting better and better with premium 3 liter boxes that have wine you can really drink. I am just in the process of holding a blind tasting to find some of the best ones on the market so stay tuned. You will also see Tetra Pak packaging that looks like an adult juice box. All these cut down on inventory and transportation costs because they are so much lighter and can be transported more easily. These premium box wines are embraced more so in Europe and Australia but here in the US we have to still battle the stigma of the box.
The point is don't choose a book by its cover or a wine by its the end you must try it to decide if you like it or not.
TBFB: Another problem I run into often is that I never know what type of wine to bring when I am a guest to someones house that I am not close with them. If you want to bring a wine to someone, and aren't sure what they like, is there a sure fire wine that never disappoints? And if the host doesn't open your bottle while you are there, does that mean they don't like it?
TWC: I think sparkling wine like Italian Prosecco or a really nice dessert wine like Sauternes is a great gift to share with any host. These are two wines that people enjoy but don't often think to buy for themselves. I also love to choose wines that are special to me because I visited the winery or enjoyed them on a special occasion. This gives you a great story to share with the host on why you choose to share it with them. Of course if you add in a copy of my award-winning book The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine then it's a perfect gift:)

I have a chapter in my book called The Gift of Wine that gives some other great ideas for hostess wine gifts. In another chapter called Great Gifts for Cork Dorks I share what to get for your wine snobby friends that are never happy with any wine.

As far as your host not opening the bottle don't worry. Etiquette says that the host does not need to open the wines brought to the party and they may in fact have chosen specific wines for the meal so don't be offended. I am a big fan of pairing wines with food especially since I live with a world class Chef! I think wines comes alive with food and it's not that hard to understand how to put them together. My husband and I have started a new BLOG where we share our love affair with wine, food and entertaining. Wine is part of the recipe of your meal not just a drink.
TBFB: OMG I am a total Cork Dork!You have become so successful, due in part, to the way you have taken the snobbery out of wine. What is it about wine that makes people so obnoxious? How were you able to avoid that, and become the expert that people like me, needed so bad?
 TWC: My theory on this obnoxious attitude is that it stems from insecurity. I have been professionally studying wine for over 10 years and have made peace with the fact that I will never know it all. Learning about wine is like learning about life it never ends. Some people use complication, science, attitude and snobbery to cover up for the fact that they don't know it all. I grew up in NJ where wine came in a box and was usually pink so who am I to be a snob? I mean most of us grew up in houses where wine was not in the dinner table like it is in Europe where people are so much more relaxed about wine. It's my job to make people more comfortable with wine so they can learn more. You just can't do that by being an obnoxious wine snob.
Laurie, thank you so much for your time! We really appreciate it knowing how busy you are. I couldn't have asked for better answers, and I hope we can do this again some time!

For more information check out Laurie's site and the new one she mentioned with her cute chef husband .



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