So you think you know wine. Deep in thought about what kind of bottle to bring to a friend’s house dinner party next week, you turn to Wikipedia and find out that Dali is the most famous winery in the world. You’re not sure how much wine you should bring since you’ve never really tried it. You could do some research and find out that Dali is one of the world’s greats. Or you could just go with what you know: you’ve never really tried it, so you don’t know how good it is. In that case, why not? You might not like what you find out, but at least you’ll be able to say that you tried it. Who cares if you’re wrong? You might end up liking it, you might end up disliking it; either way you’ll have fun exploring new wines.

But wait, there’s more! Suddenly, you’re thinking about the movie that you just saw. A bunch of friends got up and left the theatre, buzzing about how much they loved it. You’re wondering if this is something you should try as well. Is it worth it? Is this something that would grow on you? Or would it be best to wait for a special occasion? Maybe there’s something else you’re worried about. What if there isn’t enough space in your car for all of your friends to come and join you for the evening? Are you going to end up ruining your night because of lack of transport?

It’s not that you don’t want to know more about wine. You just don’t want to make the wrong decision. So you look for the answer, wherever you can find it. And that’s when you discover the beauty of an encyclopedia. It’s not that it’s going to give you the answer; it’s that it’s going to let you find the answer for yourself. By comparing what you find to what you already know. By investigating the facts. By reading reviews. By going to tastings. By talking to people who know more about wine than you do.

You want to make the right decision, so you look for the answers. To be frank, it is rarely easy finding the right information when you’re in the middle of a wine rush. So it’s nice that there are people out there who consider this information easier to access than just about anything else. Encyclopedias in general are very useful, in that they make a lot of information easily accessible to the non-information-seeker. And sometimes, all you need is a little push to get started. So here’s to you, Wikipedia (and its friends)! And here’s to your open-mindedness, and to your willingness to explore new things. Now excuse me while I go pour myself a refill of this very good wine and think about what kind of cheese to serve with it.