Finding Confidence to Drink Wine Socially

College students are heading back to campus this month; many for the first time. One of the biggest concerns new college students is the college culture that revolves around drinking. Today’s post features an interview I had with a new author Anthony Crawford whose love of wine drove him to publish a book called The No Bull$*% Wine and Food Pairing Guide available today on Amazon Kindle. (By the way, for the cash-strapped student this is quite the deal at $1.99!)

The best thing to ease your concerns over social drinking is to learn about it! So here is my interview with Author Anthony Crawford where he offers you some quick starts with food and wine pairing:

Interview with Anthony Crawford, Author of The No Bull$*% Wine and Food Pairing Guide

CM: Anthony, thank you so much for taking time to talk to me. I know a lot of my readers are interested in attending social events. In many cases, college students may be attending the first event where they can drink alcohol socially, and they also want to look smart.

AC: You’re welcome! Always happy to share thoughts. I think the biggest thing I like to make sure everyone understands is that being comfortable in an environment with alcohol is very important. This means that if you’re not one to drink, then understand that politely rejecting one is no big deal and nobody is going to judge you. If it’s an event where you grab your own drink and are worried about being one of the few sober students attending, that’s definitely okay too!

The next biggest point – never try to look smart. This doesn’t mean be a fool, but more so just be yourself, and never try to one-up anyone. Take an active interest in what others are saying and focus so you can actually remember; people appreciate this more than anything.

There’s so much pressure in college, especially social pressure. Mix that with how cool everyone thinks drinking heavily is, and you’re in for a mess. You end up being extremely nervous and end up over-drinking. Self-awareness is extremely important here. Understand how you act when you drink so you don’t regret anything later.

At the end of the day, just enjoy the drinks and go with the flow. Chances are you make some good connections and hang out late into the night, which can lead to awesome connections, whether it be friends, networking or both.

CM: So first, tell us a little about you? What did you get your degree in, and where did you go to college?

AC: Oh, college. How I miss you. I actually started off studying business at a very small school of about 500 in the mountains of western North Carolina, called Brevard. However, I was craving something bigger and switched to Central Michigan University during my 2nd semester. Continuing with business, I ended up taking an anatomy and physiology course as an elective my sophomore year, loved it so much, and changed my major to something I thought would help me get into medical school, Chemistry. I loved it and still do. I’m a huge nerd.

In the end, I decided not to apply for medical school, but was president of the largest pre-med club in the state at the time and worked with several medical school admissions counselors in Michigan. Helping students understand the admissions process and breaking down what’s important felt very rewarding. There’s always a lot of mixed information out there and it’s hard to discern what’s important for a decision as big as applying to medical school.

CM: So, how did you get the idea for this book and why did you want to write it?

AC: I have always been a huge fan of clear and concise simplification. Not over-simplification or dumbing-down, which can ruin things depending on the context, but a clearer way of understanding and explaining what’s important.

I am lucky to have grown up in an environment of the private, higher-end service industry surrounded by wine and fine-dining and learned there’s a huge gap between the knowledge of wine and how it’s taught to employees, or those simply interested in the world of wine.

I will say, wine is incredibly complex, and is the reason why there are currently only 249 Master Sommeliers on the planet. My interest in simplifying that world stems from the fact that the F&B industry has such a high turnover, but managers of high-end establishments still need their staff to know what they’re doing without spending too much time or money.

The majority of the time when training new employees, consultants are brought in and employees are given manuals with plenty of information, but a lot of these consultations dive into things like motivation, pneumonic devices, or other things the majority of these servers are already familiar with (and honestly, are not in the mood to listen to). What I wanted to do was create a system where anyone, whether it be a server or someone simply interested in wine, can learn 100% applicable information right away. While the wine industry is robust, I do not believe in wine guides or training manuals that are geared toward only the elite, or written in a way that overcomplicates knowledge and information to be applied at the table.

By doing this, it’s a win-win for everyone. Managers have a faster way to ensure their employees know important information, but those interested in learning about it are given an approach that’s much less intimidating.

CM: Can you give my readers a little hint about wine pairings that they could use right away?

AC: Absolutely! Spicy foods are great with white wines. You’ll want a low-alcohol wine to balance it out, so go for a Pinot Grigio. A more fun one that’s easy to remember is to pair sweet foods with sweet wines. The reason is, if you pair something like a cake with something like a dry red Merlot, the wine loses its fruit character and they don’t work with each other the way sweet wines would.

CM: What about something one can do when given a glass of wine that will always get them an approving nod?

AC: When given a glass of red wine, swirl it around a little with your hand in contact with the glass to add a bit of warmth, then take a second to smell it slowly, and then take a sip. If it’s a white, still swirl it around, but not with your hand on the glass as much as not to add warmth. This will let others know you appreciate what you’re drinking and are taking note of the character.

CM: So how do you think knowing more about pairing wine with food has helped you in your social life?

AC: I was always a bit nervous in crowds, cocktail parties or dinners. It’s given me a ton of confidence in that wine doesn’t have to be intimidating, and it’s ok to ask questions. However, a greater understanding of pairings and vocabulary allows you to enjoy the food and drink even more while being a great conversation starter. Knowing the basics of tasting terms, pairings, and even some of the regions of the world in regards to wine can be the start of nearly any great conversation. It just helps everything flow a little more!

CM: So now I’d like to turn the interview into the part about making money. Self-publishing is a huge dream of many, including cash-strapped students. How did you come to the idea to self-publish?

AC: Gary Vaynerchuck is a huge influence of mine. I’ve known about e-publishing for a while, but he really nailed home the fact out that anyone with a computer can publish a book, for free, and make it available to the world, and you have absolutely no excuse for not doing it if it’s something you’re dreaming of. He basically helped me realize I need to stop over-thinking and just go. I always thought of self-publishing as posting a PDF on your own website, but throwing it on Amazon is even easier and feels much cooler, for lack of a better term.

CM: What type of skills did you need to create the book?

AC: The basics! You really only need to type everything out on Word as one of Amazon’s basic requirement is that you have it formatted as a Word document. The rest of it is simply following the instructions here and submitting it.

CM: Well that pretty much wraps up this interview. It was really special having you interview with me. I really enjoyed reading your book, and now that I’ve got it on Kindle it’s a pretty convenient reference.

AC: Thanks! This will be an ongoing journey and I’m excited to see what it becomes.


Consuming alcohol is one of the most common ways to break into new social circles (fraternities, sororities, clubs etc.). Following Crawford’s guide on food and wine pairing is easily going to put your tensions to rest and help you drink confidently!

Get your copy today by clicking the link below.


Author: College Mamma

College Mamma is a professor who blogs for students. She is also a mother of two and a lover of coffee.