How to pick a good bottle of wine

Here are some pro tips on picking the right wine. Follow these steps to never get fooled by a label.

  1. When you find a wine you love, flip over the bottle and memorize the importer.

Think of your favourite importers like your favourite restaurant, when you go there you know the food is good and you keep going back. Most wine importers have a “house style” this is usually the most affordable and several levels above. So if you like a wine from a certain importer, chances are you’ll like a few of their other wines. We like BWH as an importer, who are responsible for the likes of Bodegaza Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, Paddling Duck Shiraz and Chardonnay, La Petite Ecluse Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, Monte di Cello Pinot Grigio and Blush, Wharariki Sauvignon Blanc and many others.

2. Take the time to really figure out what you even like.

Think of wine like you think of food: Everyone has preferences. There are certain ingredients you like and others that you hate, so when you look at a restaurant’s menu, your eye wanders toward dishes you enjoy. Wine is the same way.

3. Find a wine supplier you love, then trust them to point you in the right direction.

Unlike supermarkets which sell wine and spirits along with everything else such as domestic and cleaning products, finding a retailer who specializes in wines and spirits can have a better offering because they are not only selective of what they feature, they offer wines which are not stock by supermarkets and are produced by smaller producers and wineries. Supermarkets tend to go for volume over price, their wines will be cheap but are mass produced.

4. To get more bang for your buck, try wines from smaller, less popular regions.

Napa Valley wine is delicious, but it’s also going to cost you a pretty penny because it’s one of the largest and most highly-regarded wine regions in the world. To get better value, look to underrated regions.

5. Once you understand your own preferences, don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

6. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to try a wildcard wine.

Almost everyone’s heard of California Cabernet Sauvignon, or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. “Restaurants call these “gimme wines” — and they charge more for them because guests recognize them first, feel they’re safe, and say ‘Gimme that! I don’t care how much it costs!’”

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