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Wine drinker with training wheels: How to buy wine

Something that constantly stresses me out is hosting. Some people love hosting, while others, like me, prefer to be guests. The other week, my daughter was invited for a play date.

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Something that constantly stresses me out is hosting. Some people love hosting, while others, like me, prefer to be guests.

The other week, my daughter was invited for a play date. When I went to pick her up, the mother of my daughter’s friend asked if I’d like to come in and have a drink of wine with her.

Well, I couldn’t say ‘no.’ I’ve always wanted to be one of those women who, at the end of the day, enjoyed a glass of wine. Unfortunately, if you work at home, you can’t come home and have glass of wine.

In any case, when I have mothers come by and pick up their children from play dates at my house, I let them stand at the door. This is because if I asked them to come in, I would have nothing to offer them.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I could offer them some cheese strings or Kraft dinner. But I have NO alcohol in my house, and now that I’m, apparently, a grown-up, I think I should be more prepared when I have guests come by. I should have grown-up drinks on hand!

I can’t live the rest of my life offering guests tap water, milk or an apple juice box (because that’s all I have in my house.) I have many friends who, when I go visit, always have wine on hand and I always think, “God, you’re so grown up!” Even though they are around my age.

I’m definitely a wine novice. Not only would I like to be the type of woman who breezily asks others, “Come in! Have a glass of wine!” I’d also like to be the type of women who enjoys one glass of wine at the end of a long day. The people I know who enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a long day really do seem much less stressed out then me.

So I’ve decided to go out and buy some wine and drink wine at the end of the day and also have wine on hand for guests. But since I know nothing about wine, or what kind of wine I should always have on hand, for unexpected guests or mothers who want to stick around during play dates, I needed advice.

I contacted Natalie Maclean, who is the author of the bestseller Red, White and Drunk All Over. Her website, www.nataliemaclean.com, has more than 100,000 subscribers. She knows what she speaks of.

1. Natalie suggests that I always have at least one bottle of white and red at my house; a riesling and a pinot noir. Both are inexpensive, between $15 and $20.

2. Both of these wines have a lot of flavour but are not heavy, and don’t have a lot of alcohol (so you can drive safely home!)

3. She says both the riesling and the pinot noir go with many dishes. “Riesling,” she says, “is brilliant with Kraft Dinner!” Apparently, it has the right amount of acidity (not a bad thing) to cut through rich dishes.

4. Both can be Canadian wines, and we all know that “going local” is important to a lot of people.

5. Wine is important to have on hand because, as Natalie says, people like to confess and converse over wine. “Wine,” she says, “is the new coffee during playmates or book clubs. I call wine at 5 p.m. ‘Mommy’s little helper.’”

6. For someone like me, a wine novice, she says I should start with a riesling if I want a drink by myself at home. She calls me a “wine drinker with training wheels.” A riesling has a touch of sweetness that I may find appealing because we grow up with sweet pallets.

So, raise your glass to me, to a start of a lifetime of (moderate) drinking. Next time you’re over, don’t worry; I’ll have wine on hand for us adults. And I’ll leave the juice boxes for the kids. 

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