How to Buy The Right Wine

Published on November 27, 2006

Know your store - Every wine shop is different. Different focus, different selections, different pricing structures. Choose the one that works best for you. Look for stores that have either organized wine tasting or have wine available by the glass.

Reason to buy - Knowing what you are looking for before you are in the store will help you to make better selections.  Are you looking for a simple wine to serve with dinner or planning a party for twenty?

Learn about wine - You can find different sources of information on wine. Books, magazines, brochures and even, websites provide valuable information on producers and vintages that it is impossible to keep track of. Resources such as The Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate offer ratings of individual wines that can be extremely useful when selecting a wine, but remember: just because a wine isn't rated or has a mediocre score doesn't mean it is a bad wine.

Develop a good relationship with the salesperson - Never be afraid to ask for help or a recommendation. Running into the pushy salesperson may be inevitable, but usually anyone working in the store will share your enthusiasm for the grape and asking what they like may get you a great bottle of wine.

Remember, price does not equal quality - While a high price tag may be well deserved for that bottle of 25-year-old Bordeaux, wines today are increasingly priced according to start-up costs for the winery or even the level of investment from outside sources instead of quality or reputation.

Look for value regions - Many wine regions are known for their ability to produce very nice wines at still reasonable prices. Spain, Australia, Argentina and Chile are just a few countries to try. Also, look for the 2nd labels of more established wineries. These are wines sold under a different label from a quality winery sold at a lower price, a practice quite common in Bordeaux and gaining steam in California.

Be ready to try - Trying something new can be a great way to learn about new wines and new countries.

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