Wine for Newbies Articles

Wine Basics

Let’s face it – the world of wine can be intimidating. There seems to be a perpetual barrier between the wine elite, who seem to have complete access to wine and a plethora of knowledge on the subject, and the rest of us. Many times we’ve felt it would be much easier to simply throw up our arms in disgust and pop open a can of inexpensive and unassuming Bud Light. But all it takes is just a little knowledge about wine to make informed purchases as well as intelligent conversation.

Wine and Dine

Need help navigating that 3,000 bottle list at your local restaurant? Intimidated by the snooty Sommelier? Well worry no more! Winegeeks is here to help. Read on for a few good ideas that will make the restaurant wine list a bit of fun instead of a moment of trepidation.

Wine Buying Tips

Heading off to your local wine store? How about a few tips to help you make the right and informed decision? Whether looking for a $10 Shiraz or a $100 Champagne, our top ten tips that will help make your wine buying experience easy and fun.

Wine Variables: Terroir, Vintages and Oak

Have you ever noticed that each bottle of wine seems to have its own unique personality? Cabernet Sauvignon from California tastes different than Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia. The 1999 Napa Valley Merlot may have tasted much better than the 2000 Merlot you bought a couple months later. You find American wines have a stronger bite than Italian wines and French wines always seem to have a subtle taste of soil that you can’t quite place. The fact is that there are many variables in winemaking that can make wine completely change from region to region and from year to year.

The Home Sommelier

While choosing the wine is certainly important, one of the most-overlooked areas of wine consumption is how to serve the wine. It’s not as simple as other beverages where you can simply pop the top of a can or bottle and chug directly from the lip, at least not without the paper bag surrounding the bottle. With good wine, you’ll notice each sip provides a different taste or sensation, and how we serve the wine can directly affect our experience with that wine.

Your First Wine Cellar

The sheer thought of starting a wine cellar can be daunting. You may never need a cellar of grandiose proportions, but with the right space you can create your own simple mini-cellar in no time. Here are a few bottle storage tips and recommendations for determining which styles of wine require a little time in the supine position.

Baby Steps Towards Wine Geekdom

With so many labels and so many varietals on the shelves, how do we know where to start? Just like food, the only way to truly find out what you do and do not like is to dive in and start tasting! And while there is nothing wrong with going straight for the $200 bottle of Dom Pérignon, many of us feel a bit more hesitant about dropping that load of cash on a wine we're completely unfamiliar with.

A Primer on Grapes and Varietals

Now it’s time to play the name game. Our first couple of jaunts through the wine store often end up being more confusing than enlightening. Bottles displaying foreign names and labels with monkeys and elephant butts line the shelves, and some are even on sale, but how do we know what’s good? Even true winegeeks find themselves stumped every time they enter a wine shop, running into a region or grape they’ve never heard of. But knowledge is power, and soon you’ll walk confidently amongst the wine racks knowing more than even the salesperson.

Look, Sniff, Taste

Look. Sniff. Taste. These three steps are all that is required to properly taste a wine. Sure, you’re welcome to chug wine, but by doing so you’ll miss the subtle flavors and aromas that have made this a cherished beverage for millennia.