When I was growing up here in the state of Maryland, the drinking age was 18 for beer and wine and 21 for any hard liquor. Shortly after I turned 18, the state raised the age to 21 for all alcoholic beverages, but those of us that already had been able to buy beer and wine were grandfathered and were continued to be able to buy beer and wine.
I took full advantage of being able to legally buy beer. My favorite in those days was Molson Golden Ale. At that time, I was also working in a grocery store that sold beer and wine. They eventually gave me full responsibility for taking care of the beer and wine department of the store. I became very interested in learning about wine during those days.
One of my store managers in those days started to refer to me as "The Wino." Not in a derogatory way or implying that I was heavy imbiber of wine, but because I knew more about wine than anybody else in the store. My friends and I started to really enjoy having wine with our meal whenever we went out to dinner. They relied on me to pick the wine.
After I turned 21, I did start to buy some hard liquor, but not very often. I remember the night I turned 21, my best friend and I went to a movie and wanted to take advantage of my newly coming of age. We didn't have a clue what we would want and browsed around. We saw some Cherry Brandy and a bottle of Coke on display for Cherry Coke. It sounded good to us, so that is what we bought.
Eventually, wine became my beverage of choice. I do still enjoy a beer now and then or even a drink made with liquor, but there is something special about wine for me. Once, I was on a business trip to California, and the group I was with went to a Sonoma wine tasting for dinner. The great thing about having dinner at the winery is they really know the best wine and food pairings.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to a winery for a tasting, I highly recommend it. It is a great opportunity to learn firsthand about the wine you are trying. They usually will have several different varieties for you to try. At the end of the tasting, you can buy bottles of the ones you like the most to take home with you.