When you're new to drinking wine, navigating the wine aisles can feel like entering a mystery novel. All of the bottles look so unique and tempting, but you're never quite sure if you'll like what they hold. You're afraid of over-spending on a wine that is not to your taste, and you're afraid of under-spending and ending up with a bottle of truly "bad" wine. What is a new wine drinker to do? Well, to start off, you should follow the tips below for a more productive shopping experience!
1. Spend about $20 a bottle.
Most middle-of-the-road wine drinkers agree that it's pretty easy to tell the difference between cheap wine and wine that's about $20 a bottle, but much harder to tell the difference between $20 wine and wines in the $30 - $100 range. So spending much more than $20 at this point is a waste, but you probably want to steer clear of those $5 and $8 bottles. The exception is if you find a wine that is usually priced around $20 on sale for less; in that case, buy away.
2. Look up tasting notes.
If you find a wine you might be interested in buying, look for tasting notes. Don't pay too much attention to how experts actually rate the wine; that's a major matter of opinion. Do, however, pay attention to the notes they describe finding in a wine. Do you like those notes? If you enjoy cherries and raspberries, and the tasting notes say the wine features those notes, then it might be a good wine to try. Tasting notes are occasionally found on the bottle, but if not, you can Google the wine's name and look them up.
3. Stick with varietals you have had before.
When buying wine by the bottle, stick with varietals you have enjoyed in the past. For instance, if you have liked other chardonnays, buy a chardonnay. If you have liked other merlots, buy a merlot. You can try other varietals and expand your palate at wine tasting events where you don't have to risk a whole bottle going to waste if you don't like it. Or, if the store you're in sells mini-bottles of wine, you can buy some of those to sample different varieties.
Buying wine is always a bit intimidating when you're new on the scene. With the tips above, and with time, you will gain a better understanding of this delicious product.