Wine buying tips can be quite varied and complex when you consider the number of wines that are commercially available. I am often asked how I select the wines I use at my wine tasting events and what I base my own wine drinking decisions on. If you want the simple answer – I am CONSTANTLY trying new things to see what I like!
I understand many of you don’t want to take that risk. You want the perfect bottle for your dinner party or a great summer sipper for your afternoon on the patio. You don’t have the time or money to figure out what’s offered at the LCBO.
Well, neither do I! Not long ago I was clueless on figuring out what to buy and what I would enjoy. You should feel confident when buying wine and feel good about your purchase.
Below, I have shared 4 wine buying tips that I follow and highly recommend.
#1. Discover a Wine Producer
I am a big supporter of drinking wine produced by wineries that have a mission or set of values I highly believe in and admire.
For example: Casa Rojo, located in Spain, is a producer with an emphasis on love, passion and dedication to their community, their land and their wine. A devotion to spread and create a romance throughout the world and share their story that can be admired through a glass of wine.
It is easy to appreciate any grape, made in any style, sold at any price point when you are in sync with the same principles.
If you have time, most wineries’ can be found online and their website will share their background history and the vision set out for their wine and the community they are a part of.
So, if this tip isn’t for you if you don’t have the time to do research, read on to my other 3 wine buying tips.
#2. Stick with What You Love
There is absolutely nothing wrong to sticking with what you already love! You should still buy what you enjoy and you can do that while stepping up your game if you use the wine tasting tip below.
Start taking note on the regions and grape varietals you love. There are many apps and technology that makes this as easy as taking a picture of a wine label. Or, if you are like me, keeping track with the Notes app.
Here is the trick of how to take it up a notch: the next time you go in to buy your favourite wine, choose a different winery! Although the style of wine will be similar as it is from the same region, made with the same grape varietal you love, every wine producer does a little something different to make their wine unique, and you can start venturing out to finding other products you may enjoy just as much.
Wine Suggestion: Same country, same grape varietal:
Do you always drink this? Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Then try this! Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc
If you want to take an even bigger step, try one of your favourite grape varietals from another country. Have fun experimenting what effect a different climate, region and part of the world can have on a wine and maybe you’ll surprise yourself with that you find!
Suggestion: Different country, same grape varietal:
Italian Pinot Grigio: This will be lighter in body, more crisp, higher in acid and have flavours of green apple, lemon, floral.
Alsatian Pinot Gris: This style of wine is fuller-bodied, richer, spicier, lower in acid and presents flavours of white peach, plum, grapefruit.
Did you know Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape? Learn more here!
#3. Make it fun and Try New Things!
For me, purchasing wine has never been a chore. Of course, there was a level of intimidation and uncertainty of adventuring into the unknown, but the way I got over that invisible barrier was to enjoy the mystery and make it fun.
The LCBO and other liquor stores provide many subtle ways for you to shop and enjoy it. Here are a few:
- Read the back of the label – many products provide a brief description of what the wine tastes like, what to pair it with, etc
- Look beyond eye level – the top and bottom shelves contain great products too!
- Suggestion tags – many stores hang comment cards on shelves with suggestions of food pairings, top wine picks, wine characteristics, etc
- Try before you buy – many LCBO locations around the GTA offer free tastings of their most popular selection. This can help guarantee you’ll love what you purchase!
- Shop by season/holiday- stores will feature products perfect for the specific season or holiday coming up.
#4. Pair with Food
Some people think that food pairing with wine is tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many sites that offer helpful tips for buying wine that pair perfectly with the meal you are preparing.
If you will be choosing a wine with dinner, before you head out to the LCBO or local wine shop, do a quick search on what wine will pair with the particular dish you will be making, it is THAT easy.
Now, you don’t HAVE to pair the wine you buy with what you cook. BUT there is something to be experienced when food paring with wine is done properly. Italy produces their wine specifically to complement their traditional cuisine, they know what they’re doing!
These 4 wine buying tips help me choose my day-to-day wine picks for clients and myself and I also keep learning along the way! Try one or all of these wine buying tips and see if you become more confident when buying wine.
Remember these helpful tips for buying wines and you will discover the endless possibilities of the beautiful world of wine:
- Be confident
- Technology can provide you fast and helpful hints!
- Try new things
- Have fun!
- Read the back of labels
- Experiment with food
Share with me your experience when you use these tips and if they made you a better wine shopper and drinker!