Dear Jenni....

By Jennifer Cossey

What should I drink with spicy food? Why do I smell “Band-Aid”? What does AVA mean? I love red, but my boyfriend loves white; how can I find a wine that will make us both happy?

People ask me these questions and a number of others on a daily basis. The straight fact is that people want to know more about wine, but more often then not, are afraid to ask the questions. So, my first bit of ramble to you would be this: Don’t be afraid.

My name is Jennifer Cossey, a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, an Oregon wine country worker and resident and a lover of wine. 

I am here to give you Somm Advice. With that said, I humbly submit a few other bits of initial counsel:

1. First and foremost, drink what you like to drink, how you like to drink it, when you like to drink it and what you like to drink it with. Never let anyone tell you that there is only one right way, because there isn’t.

2. Taste, taste, taste. We are blessed to live in a region rich with wine culture. Almost any restaurant will have a healthy by-the-glass menu and many places even offer one-ounce pours. Plus, there are hundreds of tasting rooms in Oregon.

3.Try new things. Always be open to suggestions. There is, literally, a world of wine out there, and some are just making it to the American market. You never know what you will discover.

4. Ask a lot of questions. In my experience, the people who know the most don’t act like it (mostly because they know how much more there is to learn), and the ones who know the least sometimes act like they know more than anyone. Remember that.

It’s not uncommon to hear me answer a question with “I don’t know,” and I enjoy the opportunity to learn wherever it comes up. No one person knows everything about wine. Things change so often in the universe of fermented grape juice that it is impossible to know it all.

So let’s learn together. I look forward to your questions and remarks. Please e-mail me at and I’ll see you next month.

To your health and happiness! 

Jennifer Cossey currently works at Soléna and Grand Cru Estates. She is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Her interest in wine began 12 years ago in California.

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