The past few years have been a tremendous time for people looking to get involved with and learn about wine to do so.
These are definitely high times, both in Wisconsin and across the U.S., for the wine industry. But as always, the industry, wine makers, lovers, writers, etc., must evolve.
So what can drinkers expect for 2013? Here are some ideas from the San Francisco Chronicle.
The idea of "Big Wine" is interesting to me. We talk all the time about all sorts of "Big" industries, but I generally don't think of wine, beer or food in that vein.
If you do your wine shopping at a local grocery store, you most likely will notice a lot of influence from Gallo, Constellation Brands and the Wine Group, on the shelves. But that doesn't necessarily mean they end up in your glass.
That's what has been amazing about the industry, is the continued growth of smaller wineries and labels, both globally and in Wisconsin. You can find alternatives to the major brands, by either trying somebody new and/or keeping it local (sorry for the Channel 5 reference).
Craft beer is a growing industry, and craft wine should be also. I've always been a fan of the ability to taste and ask questions of the people who make the stuff you're drinking. You can ask about motivation and flavor profiles, learn about the viticulture or ingredients around you and find out about future developments they're working on.
It's a lot easier to do so if you go tour a winery or brewery, but every now and then a festival will appear, providing access to numerous wine makers and brew masters all in one spot. That's where you'll come away with the richest experience.
Now putting that geeky side of me down for a second, should you choose to go the route of buying at your local liquor or grocery store, give a different label a shot.
For both wine and beer, the first thing you should have in mind is the style you enjoy. Then, you can freely navigate the selections of those styles to try different labels.
You could also ask the folks working there if they've tried any of the brands you're considering and get some of their feedback.
But wine (or beer) doesn't have to be dominated in your home by the biggest names, you drink what you enjoy and let all the other booze fall where it may.