With their seemingly endless knowledge of wine and spot-on wine advice, a good sommelier is a sage to any oenophile. But there’s no reason why any wine lover can’t gain a lot of the same knowledge that sommeliers dispense every day. With so many free and low-cost ways to find out about wine, all you need is the desire to learn.

Free Classes and Workshops

They say that nothing’s free these days, but there are still a few things that slip by. And if you’re an aspiring oenophile, you’ll be happy to know that wine classes and workshops are often in that category. Offered by wine shops, community centers, colleges, social clubs and adult education centers, free wine classes are a great way to learn more about specific types of wine and meet other people with the same interests as your own. As an added bonus, these classes are often taught by expert sommeliers or even the winemakers themselves.

To find free wine classes and workshops, check at your neighborhood wine shop. Sign up for the mailing lists of local wine clubs and community organizations. Soon you’ll be the one offering wine advice!

Wine Tastings

Free wine tastings are common, easy to find and a must for any budget-conscious oenophile. Sponsored by winemakers, they’re offered by wine shops and restaurants, sometimes as often as once a week.

The people running tastings are generally quite knowledgeable about the wines they’re serving and are more than happy to answer your questions. Some tastings may even be accompanied by a short talk or discussion. If you attend these frequently, you’ll not only get to try a variety of wines for free, but you’ll also gain invaluable wine advice from experts.

Become a Wine Bookworm

Perhaps one of the easiest ways for a wine lover to learn more about wine is through reading, which you can do without paying a cent. Read the food section of your local newspaper and subscribe to wine blogs. Excellent articles, written by experts, are published by many wine-themed websites on the Internet. Books about wine and wine magazines are available at your local library.

Free Wine Advice from Experts

The next time you’re dining out in a nice restaurant, ask to speak to the sommelier about your wine selection, or better yet ask for a recommendation. So few people actually ask for wine advice that sommeliers are usually very happy to answer questions and even discuss particular wines.

Be sure to ask questions, too, at your local wine shop. Most good shops have their wine buyer on hand to answer questions and help customers choose wines. They are a great free resource.