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Wine 101: How to Identify, Drink and Store Wine


The world of wine is wonderful and vast.  It can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out, so below are some quick tips or maybe just refreshers on the basics around wine.

What are the different types of wine?

There are many different types of wine, and they can be broadly categorized based on their color, flavor, and body. Here are some of the main types of wine:

  1. Red wine is made from red or black grapes that have been fermented with their skins. Red wine tends to be full-bodied and have a rich, fruity flavor with notes of berries, plums, and cherries.

  2. White wine is made from white grapes or red grapes with the skins removed before fermentation. White wine tends to be lighter in body and have a crisp, refreshing flavor with notes of citrus, apples, and pears.

  3. Rosé wine is made from red grapes with the skins removed after a brief period of fermentation. Rosé wine has a pink color and tends to be lighter in body and flavor than red wine, with notes of berries and stone fruits.

  4. Sparkling wine is a type of wine that is made with carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles. Sparkling wine can be made in a variety of styles, including Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava.

  5. Dessert wine is a type of wine that is sweeter than other wines and is often served with dessert. Examples include Port, Sherry, and Moscato.

There are many other types of wine as well, including fortified wines like Madeira and Vermouth, and orange wines made from white grapes that are left to ferment with their skins.

How do you drink wine?

There are a few steps you can follow when drinking wine:

  1. Pour a small amount of wine into your glass. It’s generally recommended to pour about one to two ounces of wine at a time. This allows you to taste the wine and appreciate its flavors and aromas.

  2. Hold the glass by the stem, as this will help to prevent the heat from your hand from warming up the wine.

  3. Swirl the wine in the glass to release the aromas and flavors.

  4. Take a small sip of the wine and let it sit on your tongue for a moment before swallowing. This allows you to fully experience the wine’s flavor and texture.

  5. Swallow the wine and take a moment to appreciate the aftertaste.

  6. Repeat the process until you have finished the wine.

What type of wine glasses do you use?

The best wine glasses are ones that are comfortable to hold and allow the wine to express its full flavor and aroma. In general, wine glasses are made of clear, thin glass so that the color and clarity of the wine can be appreciated. The shape of the glass can also enhance the wine-drinking experience. Here are a few general guidelines for selecting wine glasses:

  1. Red wine glasses have a wider bowl than white wine glasses, which helps to aerate the wine and release its flavors and aromas.

  2. White wine glasses have a narrower bowl than red wine glasses, which helps to preserve the wine’s chilled temperature and retain its aromas.

  3. Sparkling wine glasses, also known as Champagne flutes, have a tall, narrow shape that helps to preserve the wine’s bubbles.

  4. Dessert wine glasses are smaller and more tulip-shaped than other wine glasses, which helps to concentrate the wine’s flavors and aromas.

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all wine glass. The best wine glass is one that you enjoy using and that enhances your wine-drinking experience.

How do you know if the wine is good?

There are a few factors that can help you determine if a wine is good:

  1. Quality of the grapes: A wine’s quality is often determined by the quality of the grapes that were used to make it. Grapes that are grown in the right soil and climate, and are harvested at the optimal ripeness, will produce higher-quality wines.

  2. Winemaking techniques: The winemaking techniques used can also impact the quality of the wine. Factors such as the type of fermentation, aging process, and blending can all influence the final product.

  3. Appearance: A wine’s appearance can give you some indication of its quality. A wine that is clear and bright is generally considered to be of higher quality than a wine that is cloudy or has sediment.

  4. Aroma: The aroma of a wine can be a good indicator of its quality. A wine that has complex, pleasing aromas is generally considered to be of higher quality than a wine that has simple or off-putting aromas.

  5. Flavor: The flavor of a wine is also an important factor in determining its quality. A wine that has a balanced flavor with a good structure and a long, pleasant finish is generally considered to be of higher quality than a wine that is too sweet, too sour, or too bitter.

How do you store wine?

Proper wine storage can help to preserve the quality of the wine and ensure that it tastes its best. Here are a few tips for storing wine:

  1. Keep wine in a cool, dark place. A temperature of around 55°F is ideal for storing wine.

  2. Avoid exposing wine to light, as sunlight or fluorescent light can cause the wine to deteriorate.

  3. Store wine horizontally. This helps to keep the cork moist and prevents it from drying out and letting air into the bottle.

  4. Avoid storing wine in the refrigerator for extended periods of time. While it’s fine to chill a bottle of wine in the fridge before serving, long-term storage in a fridge can dry out the cork and affect the wine’s flavor and aroma.

  5. If you have opened a bottle of wine and don’t plan to finish it, you can store it in the fridge for a few days. To help preserve the wine’s quality, re-cork the bottle and store it on its side.

  6. If you have a large collection of wine, you may want to consider getting a wine fridge or wine cellar to ensure that your wine is stored at the optimal temperature and humidity.

It’s important to note that not all wines are meant to be aged. Some wines are meant to be consumed within a few years of being made, while others can benefit from being aged for a longer period of time. Consult the label or your wine merchant for guidance on how long a particular wine can be stored.

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