Let’s face it; No one wants to look like a fool when picking out wine at a shop or restaurant.
Below are the nine most common mistakes I see from my years in the wine business. The first mistake many people don’t know about but could be the difference between feeling like a million bucks the next morning or feeling like a bus hit us.
9. Not Asking for Advice from the People Selling You Wine
Whether you buy wine face to face, mask to mask, or get your bottles delivered, reach out to the people or company selling you the wine. They have access to a ton of information on grapes from all over the world. Use them to help you decide on flavors you enjoy, pairings with food, and new wine suggestions. In addition to that, groups and forums online have plenty of opinions about what you should try next. A simple click of the mouse or email or quick conversation with your local wine salesperson can open your world to discover new fantastic wine.
8. Cheaping Out When Choosing a Bottle or Glass
You always get what you pay for. Not to say there aren’t good buys on every level, but bottles under $10, that's a hangover roll of the dice. And no one wants that for themselves or their drinking partners. Staying between $15-$30 for your everyday drinking and $30+ for those special occasions will keep your palette and your wallet happy.
7.Letting Shiny Labels Influence Your Buy
I’m the worst when it comes to letting shiny things distract me. I’m like a cat with a laser pointer. So when I’m searching for a new bottle, I look for the grape variety and the region it’s from, Not the colors and pictures on the label.
6. Waiting Until the Last Second to Buy the Wine
Maybe it's a last-minute dinner invite that has you rushing down the wine isles like you’re in a game show. Or perhaps you just forgot, but choosing a wine as an afterthought will almost always end in buying an industrial mass-produced garage wine. And We ALL deserve to drink better than that. Give yourself time to make the right choices for each event. Better yet, Have some options at home already waiting, so you never have to make hurried decisions on what’s in your glass next.
5. Not Thinking About Food When Choosing a Wine
Food and wine go hand and hand. If you know what’s served with the wine, choose a bottle that complements the dish’s flavors. If there’s no preview of the menu, lighter-bodied wines tend to pair with a border range of food, but fuller-bodied wines pair nicely with bolder flavors like lamb chops or grilled portabella mushrooms. My advice is to have a light-bodied white and a medium to full-bodied red on hand to cover all bases.
4. Sticking with Big Brands and Well-Known Names Only
When in a pinch, it’s easy to grab whatever bottle you saw on the last billboard or social media Ad. But some of these mass-produced, industrial wines are pumped full of terrible things. I’ve even started calling these “dirty wines.” (I’ll explain more in the first mistake) Look to the people or online shops that sell you wine as a resource to discover different grapes similar to those you already enjoy. Don’t get stuck with the same old bottles. Let them do the work and find wines comparable to your regular bottles without spending an arm and a leg.
3. Passing on Screw Tops
Yes, we can all agree a screw top bottle is nowhere near as sexy or sophisticated as a traditional bottle with a cork in it. But other than old preconceived notions, there is ZERO difference in quality between a screw top and a bottle with a cork. Screw tops, however, do not run the risk of getting tainted by the cork or “corked,” which can ruin a bottle of wine. There haven’t been long-term studies on aging wine with screw tops yet, but the current results look promising. All in all, screw tops don’t necessarily mean mediocre quality wine.
2. Not Returning Bad Wine
Wine is a natural product with so many different factors affecting the final taste in your glass. So if a bottle has spoiled when you first open it, don’t be afraid to speak up to the person or company who sold you the wine. Everyone from the shop owner to the grape grower knows that this happens from time to time. And most will, at the very least, replace the bottle gone bad.
1. Buying “Dirty” Wine
By far, this is something NO ONE talks about when buying or drinking wine. The average industrial mass-produced bottle you will find on the shelves at liquor stores or wine lists at restaurants is 100% Dirty. We all have had dirty wines in the past, I’m sure of it. And the difference between having a dirty and clean wine is the difference you feel in the morning.