Fortunately, there is someone to whom you can turn for guidance, namely me. My book, "A Beginner's Guide to Wine Cooler Appreciation (North America)," fully illustrated, scratch 'n' sniff, tear 'n' taste, rip 'n' relish - and a steal at only $25.95 - will soon be at bookstores near you.
Perhaps you've been wondering: am I a wine cooler kind of person? Do I have what it takes?
You may be saying to yourself: how can I drink wine cooler if I don't have a front porch? The only place anybody ever drinks wine cooler is on a front porch. I've seen it on TV. So how can I ever hope to qualify?
Also (you are probably saying) I am not an elderly bumpkin, or a post- adolescent pretending to be a rock star. They are the people you see on TV drinking wine cooler on their front porches. Not people like me.
Relax. Don't be intimidated. Anyone can be a wine cooler kind of person, even you, unless, of course, you happen to like wine, in which case you're better off forgetting the whole thing.
My book will show you how to introduce yourself to wine cooler. You'll learn how to organize your own private wine cooler tasting. You can do it anywhere, although traditionally - since 1985 - wine cooler is drunk outdoors, or near an open window, at least.
Begin with a Bartles and Jaymes Premium Wine Cooler, with its distinctive gold-embossed label. Pour it into a glass, inhale deeply. It has a distinctive nose, reminiscent of 7-Up. The taste: ginger ale, but thinner, more steely, with a lingering finish that hints at rubbing alcohol. It lacks character. But those two codgers in the ads are cute.
You might move on to Seagrams Natural Peach-Flavored Wine Cooler. Some people prefer to drink this one straight from the bottle, which is probably wise, because who knows what might happen if you let it breathe? It's a sweet, sullen little cooler, passive-aggressive, decadent. The perfect beverage when you're wallowing in self-pity.
Next, let me suggest a sentimental favorite of mine, Quinn's Cooler with ''natural citrus flavor." Coarse, rambunctious, this one has a pungently trashy aftertaste that will remind you of every hangover you've ever had.
At this point, Citrus California Cooler might make a nice change. Fruity, aggressive, it's a real rapscallion. If you must drink before 9 a.m., this is the one. It even takes the edge off an Egg McMuffin.
Moving right along, you'll want to include at least one extra-sweet wine cooler in your first tasting. Make it Raspberry Calvin Cooler, an exhibitionist among coolers, with a jammy nose and a candy flavor so close to Kool-Aid you'll think you're a kid again. Perfect partner for a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich.
Finally, if you're feeling daring, you may want to try a Cape Cod Cranberry Cooler, an unusual item, definitely not for everyone. It's predictably tart, with a boggy nose and a strong aftertaste of old cigars.
Watch for my next book, "A Beginner's Guide to Wine Cooler Technology and Mixology," in which I will guide readers through the intricacies of making wine cooler at home, an incredibly complicated process involving mixing cheap wine, carbonated water and fruit juice in exactly the right proportions.