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  • Writer's pictureChristina Kach

Run Now. Wine Later. A How-To Guide.

In honor of Wine & Dine Virtual Weekend, today's blog is all about how going for a run can make you a better wine drinker. You train your legs and body for running, so too can you train your brain and nose and palate to be better at knowing wines.

*RUNNERS: to the starting wine! 3-2-1 GO!*

(I use the term "running" - but this guide is for runners, run/walkers, and walkers)

Smells & Scents

A great tip for getting better at detecting scents in wines, is to know lots of smells! You'll never be able to pick out notes of black currants if you've never smelled one before. If you run outside, you've got a world of nature to see and smell on your runs. Being outside on a run, you get the chance to smell things you can't as easily detect in your home kitchen. Are you an indoor treadmill runner? Get outside on occasion for a walk. Depending on where you live and the season, scents you can smell on your runs that can be found in wines include:

  • Wet concrete (go for a run just after a rain shower)

  • Smoke (from backyard grills)

  • Spices & seasonings (when the Pizza Planet delivery truck drives by)

  • Leaves and soil

  • Fresh mowed grass

  • Saline (ocean air)

  • Flowers

  • Hay

And this list goes on!....And heck, if you trip and need a band-aid, smell that too! Band-aid odors in wine almost always indicate the wine has spoiled.


If you've watched a Sommelier or other wine professional thoughtfully inspect, smell and taste a glass of wine, you'll see them be very focused. Sometimes they may even close their eyes when sniffing and tasting to hone in on the senses in use. They are doing this so they can go through the catalog of information related to wine in their heads and focus their senses on the wine. Multi-tasking, being distracted or feeling sluggish can diminish a sharp mind and effective wine tasting (and their jobs may depend on it). For these reasons, they can concentrate solely on the wine, blocking out distracting, freeing their brain. Running is often recommended as a way to clear your head. Don't forget to run without audio sometimes, to let your brain run as free as your legs.


Just as you train for a race, you can train to get better at wine. Yup, really. Reading, drinking, going to tasting classes, studying wine menus, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts...they are all training to learn about the world of wine. The more you smell a wine, the better you can get at detecting the aromas. The more you taste wines, the better your palate gets at detecting sweetness, acidity, flavors and tannin. The more you learn about the wine world or how to read the label, you are training your brain by exposing it to new information. Create a wine training plan as you would for your upcoming half-marathon. Want to learn about wines of France? Get a book to read, get some bottles from the liquor store and taste away! Want to explore what Chardonnay tastes like from France versus America versus Australia? Seek those wines out on a restaurant menu. Training, for anything, can make us feel like we've been kicked out of our comfort zones; remember that is the purpose of training, to improve.

Time to Learn

One way to train on the run? Audio books and podcasts. Many runners already use time on the road or treadmill to listen to a book on tape or podcast. Pick one about wine! It is true that verbally hearing about tannins in a red wine or the sweetness of an ice wine isn't quite the same as tasting it...but that's the fun! Taking what you learn from your book or podcast and trying it out. By learning the language of wine, you can better understand what you are drinking and about the grape juice in your glass.


Through confidence in yourself, so much is possible. Confidence comes to us in many ways. Confidence can ebb and flow; good days and bad days. Confidence can be gained by doing hard things - and running can be a hard thing. Let the confidence of tackling your running goals - whether it is speed, distance or consistency - spill over into other parts of your life. Yes, you CAN order a glass of wine at a restaurant with confidence.

Enjoying the Moment

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears. It's a world of hopes and a world of fears. One of the simplest things we can do for ourselves is to simply relish in enjoying a moment. Simply enjoying a trip on It's a Small World - without taking pictures. Simply enjoying an easy run on a gorgeous summer day - without worrying about pace (or taking a picture). Simply enjoying a delicious glass of wine. Stick your nose in the glass and enjoy the scents. Taste the wine and let the flavors make you smile. But if the wine is like, really good....take the picture, you'll want to remember what it is so you can buy more.

~Cheers & Ears. Way to go Wine & Dine Virtual Runners! And bravo to all the runners and walkers and winos out there.

Wine & Dine After Party - 2017 Riesling in Germany


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