Perhaps you’re new to the world of wine and looking for a starting point or, alternatively, you’re a seasoned wine taster looking for some additional wine selection tips. Regardless, you’ve come to the right place!

Below is a list of five tips to help you pick out and buy great wines.

1. How to Read Wine Labels

Wine is labelled in a number of ways, the main things to look out for on the label is grape type, region the wine is from and wine brand name.

The grape type tells you what the wine is composed of, however, the wine is rarely 100% of that grape type, each region has their minimum percentage for grape type composition. Grape types include names such as Merlot, Pinot Noir and Riesling. These are fairly commonly used grape breeds, although, there are thousands of other types. Over time, you will begin to recognize grape varieties, eventually you will have a favourite too!

Wine can be labelled by region as well, this is an older practice in the traditions of wine. Examples of names you may see is Bordeaux, Chianti and even Niagara Falls! The region tells you that the wine is composed of the grapes local to that area, you may have to do some additional research to know exactly what grapes are associated with what region.

Finally, wine is sometimes labelled by a distinctive made up name, similarly to a brand or product name. Usually wines that are labelled this way are a unique blend of grapes designed by the producer, that’s why the grape type and region isn’t used on the label. You may have to research the producer to get the specific details about these types of wines.

2. Importers

As you try more and more wines, make a note of who the importer is for your favourites. Most importers have a selective taste and style in relation to wine, chances are if you like one of their selections you will like others of theirs too.

3. Ask the Wine Experts

The world is full of wine connoisseurs, you just need to find them. A good place to start is visiting your local wine shop specializing in wine, the staff there will be passionate and knowledgeable about wine thereby giving you great advice. Because the people in these places have their focus on wine, they can help you choose wines that best suit your taste.

Another option is going to a restaurant or bar that specialize in wine. The staff there will also be educated in wine, some restaurants even have wine sampling options.

4. Bang For Your Buck

Part of searching for wine is finding a bottle that isn’t expensive but still has great flavour and taste. The trick to finding a wine that’s cheap and delicious is knowing the pricing per region. Over time, you will recognize regions easily and know what is bound to be expensive.

The rule of thumb is that expensive regions, such as Napa and Bordeaux, won’t have cheap wine options that are tasty because of the quality they produce. Instead, look for under rated, uncommon regions for cheap but great wine, the underdogs tend to have better bang for your buck.

5. When In Doubt, Try Something New

If you find yourself looking through the wine selections and can’t find something that tickles your fancy, try something new! You never know, a random wine selection could turn out to be one of your favourites. You can pick out a new wine based on the grape, region or even on how attractive the label is!

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