How can you learn enough about wine to enjoy what you drink without feeling that you need to become a sommelier?
I say, "Go to wine tastings!"
My husband and I do this every other weekend (and even more often if the opportunity arises).
Some wine shops offer a simple tasting - just a few bottles poured by someone working in the store - while others have a wine distributor come with a larger variety of bottles to pour.
Usually the person pouring the wine will give you a detailed account of each wine, and while you are tasting what they pour you can ask questions. Any question at all, so you don't need to worry about being shy or embarrassed. Not everyone knows about every wine.
Is it a full-bodied wine, does it have aromas of blackberry, what fruit am I tasting, does it have legs, when can you drink it, what grapes are in it, can it be put away for a few years, how is this vintage compared to last year, describe the area where the grapes were grown... are just a few questions you might ask. There are many others, and the more you ask and the answers you get will assist in your learning.
You may find that the price point of wines does not always reflect the quality of the wine. And taste varies from person to person. It is not always a given that my husband and I will agree on a wine. Our method is that what we buy will most always be what we both enjoy, with a deviation every now and then.
Wine tastings are fun and very social. You are tasting wines with other people and you can compare notes or just start a conversation about anything and before you know it, you are exchanging phone numbers.
The world of wine is enormous and there is never a shortage of wines to taste. We are still learning about grapes we never tasted or at least never tasted in combinations with other grapes.
You can call your local wine shop and ask about tastings. Even the big box wine stores offer tastings.
So go to a wine tasting or two and see what you discover about wine. You just may find yourself attending more and more.
I would recommend two of my favorite wine shops to start if you are in the Westchester area: www.wineconn.com and www.surburbanwines.com. You can also get on their mailing list for upcoming wine tastings and special offers.