(First of all, let’s be honest: these questions aren’t “frequently” asked. Someone has yet to ask me a question about my outlines.)

Why do outlines work as a study method? I’ve gone into a bit more detail here. Basically, what I love about outlines is that they lay out information in an clear, orderly manner and they have a logical flow to them. (Good grief – I sound like I’m describing myself here. I am seriously a human outline).

Outlines also have a strong visual component, so they mesh well with many learning styles. Sometimes my eyes glaze over when I’m reading paragraph after paragraph of text – even if it’s interesting stuff! Outlines break up the information and make it easier for my eyes, and brain, to digest.

What’s my outline style? My outlines are intended to be a broad overview of a wine topic. They are not meant to be a treatise and cover all details and minutiae. Although my outlines go beyond basic introductory wine knowledge, they don’t contain nearly the amount of detail which is required to pass top level certifications such as the MS or MW.

Where do I get my information to create outlines? A variety of sources. Online wine sites (GuildSomm, Wine Scholar Guild, Jancis Robinson), my class materials (NWWA, WSET), texts (Wine Bible, etc), podcasts (Wine for Normal People, Wine Enthusiast, I’ll Drink to That!) and multiple online resources.

How accurate are the outlines? Since I am using these for my own studies, I obviously try to create my outlines as up-to-date and as accurate as possible. But as anyone in the wine industry knows, things are constantly changing. And unfortunately, there is a fair amount of conflicting information out there. I get my outlines as close to 100% correct as I can, but I cannot guarantee that there won’t be an inaccuracy or slightly outdated info.

How do I determine the order of my outlines, or what the topics will be? It’s pretty random right now. It might be a bottle I drink, an area I’m studying, or a region I visited. As I get into my WSET Diploma studies, I’ll probably create more outlines on viticulture and winemaking methods since those are the topics I need to tackle first.

Some of the outlines seem out of whack with their importance in the wine world – why is that? Such as the almost four pages long outline for the minor AVA in Washington State? Yeah, that’s probably way more information than an average person needs to know about that region. Some outlines might be longer because it’s an area near and dear to me, or a topic I want additional information on for my current studies or future teaching.

If you’re not studying for anything wine-related, what use would you have for an outwine? Even if you’re not studying wine, I think these can be an incredibly useful source for giving someone a quick, easy to read, general overview of a wine topic. Maybe you’re visiting an area or just tried a bottle from somewhere that you’d like to know a little bit more about. Or maybe you’re one of my super supportive friends who wants to check out what I do with all my “free time.” 🙂

Outwines? That’s a goofy name – you can’t expect to be taken seriously with it. Totally agree. It sounds like a word that would come out of a lisping toddler. But I actually have to give my iPhone credit for it. You know how it’s smart enough to auto-fill in (or auto-correct to) words that you frequently use? Well, at some point I typed in “out lines”, and my iPhone changed it to “out wines.” I got a good chuckle out of this because “wine” IS a very frequent word I key in on my phone. But then I stopped and thought “hmmm . . . I am essentially making outlines for wine studies. Outwines.” And I wondered if anyone else might have use for some of these – so the concept for this site was born.