Sunday, September 5

Wine Tips 101: Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier

If you've read Gotta Go for any length of time, you'll know I enjoy a glass of vino now and again. Red in particular. It's a rare treat to meet a sommelier (wine expert) and even more rare to get the opportunity to have a talk with a master sommelier. With only 150 in the world, they are considered the best of the best.

I got just such an opportunity recently after stumbling upon Tim Gaiser's DVD Think Like a Genius: Wine Master. Gaiser is a master sommelier and current Education Chair for the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Translation: He knows his stuff.

The Genius method was created by Tim Hallbom, behavioral scientist, and deconstructs a genius while at his craft. Streamlining the process is Taryn Voget, CEO and co-founder of Everyday Genius Institute, San Francisco, California.

They slowed Gaiser down, checked out his method and got it on tape. It was created to help novices understand what they are actually smelling, tasting, and seeing.

He was kind enough to share some wine tips with me, almost a Wine Tips: 101 class, if you will.

With Gaiser living in San Francisco, the interview between the wine wizard with 25 years of experience and me came via telephone. I asked and he answered. Ready?

Q: Is price an indicator of quality?
A: No; there are great wines at practically every price point.

Q: Name some bare essentials for someone starting out.
A: Decent glassware, a good beginning wine book, like Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible, and wine-tasting classes.

Q: What is your opinion on which wines to use with cooking?
A: If it isn't good enough to drink; don't cook with it.

Q: What do you recommend to someone who wants to store wine without spending a large amount of money?
A: Don't. Wine needs to be stored at the correct temperatures. If you cannot store them properly, then buy a few bottles at a time and drink them; don't try to store them.

Q: Is the genius method good for beginners?
A: Yes. It makes people aware of the process of how they remember what things smell and taste like, their internal process.

Q: If there is one thing you would like people to remember about wine, what would it be?
A: Wine touches everything, ecology, archaeology, history. It's the great connector; it connects people.

Wine tastings narrow down which types and flavors you prefer. Wineries are a good place to check out some local wines. Remember, however, that wineries offer a specific grouping of wines...theirs.

To check out wines from around the world, a wine-tasting class and tastings at wine shops and restaurants help broaden the field. Once you are comfortable with wines, try out a food and wine pairing class or a wine-making class.

Bottom Line: Don't despair if you don't become an expert overnight. There is a wine for everyone, and you can always try, try again.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and at Comments can and questions can be sent to

*Special thanks to Taryn Voget, Everyday Genius Institute, CEO and co-founder, Tim Hallbom, behavioral scientist and co-founder, and Tim Gaiser, master sommelier for their input and information included in this column.

*Click on the following links for more details on the genius method, wine tips, The Wine Bible, and the WIBC interview between Tim Gaiser and Elizabeth J. Musgrave on Joe Ulery's Saturday Morning News Show.

Photo credits:
Submitted by Everyday Genius Institute
Photos by Izzy Evans

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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