We’ve all been there; you stand in front of the seemingly hundred choices of wine from all over the world, and start to get a headache from the bevy of choices (not to mention feeling slightly naïve knowing only 5 different types-who knew there were so many!) Don’t be confused again! Follow these simple tips to know exactly what you’re getting.
When you look at a label, the wine will be labeled in one of three ways: by Variety, Region and Name. The Variety will list what grapes the wine came from (Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.) Sometimes, the Variety will contain other grapes as well, but we’ll get into that later.
A wine’s Region will let you know where the wine came from. When you know what the rules of the Region is, you can probably guess what grapes are in it. For example, a red wine labeled ‘Bourgogne’ is going to be a Pinot Noir. Regional labels are common in France as well as Italy and Spain.
When a wine is known by a Name it’s generally a blend exclusive to the winery. This is common in the US, Italy, and Australia. For example, at Marteralla Winery you’ll find the Sweet Nothings Wine which is a sweet Chambourcin with flavors of raspberry, or the Philosophy Wine from Greenhill Vineyards which is a Bordeaux blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
After you’ve determined which wine you want, you wonder “Why is the wine on the bottom shelf $8.00 and the one on the top shelf is $45.00? the answer is simple-quality. Cheaper wines are mass produced with oak chips to add flavor; more expensive wines are crafted in oak barrels and are made in smaller batches. When it comes to getting a really good wine, it’s difficult to spend less than $40.00. Keep that in mind.
Lastly, keep in mind that just because you enjoyed last year’s bottle of wine from your favorite Virginia Winery (hint, hint), doesn’t mean it’s going to taste the same this year. This is a fruit after all, and the weather has a big say in how that vintage tastes bottle to bottle, year after year. It is fun to find those subtle differences year to year though!
Take a tour with us through beautiful wine country to find the wine you love the best! Tour with friends, family, or coworkers using the package of your liking, so when you go to the grocery store you won’t stand there clueless ever again!