The French term œnophile, from ‘Oenophilia’ - Greek for the love (philia) of wine (oînos) - is a lover of wine. In the strict sense of the term, oenophile describes a disciplined affection for the art of wine, accompanied by a strict respect for its traditions, consumption and shares this appreciation. Though in a general sense of the word, an oenophile simply refers to the enjoyment of wine, by an enthusiast.
There are levels of Oenophiles - with the most respected also known as wine aficionados or connoisseurs. They are people who appreciate and understand wine; they also collect wine, particularly quality wines from renowned regions, specific varietals and wine styles, along with unique production methods.
While most oenophiles are hobbyists, some can be professionals like a vintner (winemaker), sommelier, wine merchant, or someone who tastes and reviews wines as a profession. The word didn’t actually exist in most wine glossaries until 1977 when Shirley Copperman coined the term for her new ‘bring-your-own-wine’ restaurant she and her husband named ‘Oenophilia’, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York.
They referred to 'Oenophilia', as an affliction of the senses characterized by intense cravings for good food and service and vintage wines served in a tasteful, comfortable setting at reasonable prices.
To appreciate wine like a true oenophile, you have to first inspect the colour of the wine served in the appropriate glass, then swirl and sniff its aroma, and then take a careful controlled sip and swirl it around ones palate to enjoy its texture and characters. Once you have tasted all the wines tannins and layers of fruit and other winemaking techniques like oak, you can finally swallow.
An oenophile is a lover or connoisseur (knows a lot about all aspects) of wine. An Oenophile enjoys wine, discuss wine, keep wine in their carefully stocked cellar, and know which years (from each country) produce the best wines and which can age.
Please don't confuse oenophiles with winos, another name for alcoholics who like price-driven wines and consume them at speed with little appreciation or thought. Oenophiles sip, savour and share wine with good food and friends. To become a true oenophile can be a lifelong journey.