New To the World of Wine? Ten Tips to Get you Started

As a newcomer, the world of wine treads a very fine line between the exciting and the downright intimidating. You know you like the odd bottle of wine from the local supermarket and you’re starting to develop a taste for quality – traversing the divide into full-blown wine-buff territory is however another story altogether.

There’s no need to enroll for a Master of Wine course or, indeed, become anything close to a wine buff to get some serious enjoyment out of wine. Likewise, you don’t have to be a millionaire either to afford genuinely great wines and you don’t have to buy a whole case to get the finest wine out there – the web has made it easier than ever before to get hold of the world's best wines from the comfort of your own home.

As far as we’re concerned, enjoying wine is all about personal preference combined with a few basics you can pick up in no time and aren’t likely to forget. And with this in mind what follows is a brief guide consisting of ten tips designed for newcomers looking to take a gentle step forward in the world of quality wine.

Let us be your guide to a world of pleasure and enjoyment:


1 – Avoid Binge Buying

When you find a wine you like, it’s tempting to go out and buy box after box of the stuff to stock your cellar. Don’t binge-buy wine by the case – it’s inevitable that the taste of the wine will change over time and could end up nothing like the wine you fell in love with in the first place. No matter how much you liked it when you bought it, you might crack a bottle a few months later and hate it!


2 – Educational Buys

If you aren’t yet sure what you like, don’t go drinking what you think you should be drinking just because the critics rate it. Instead try a wide selection of wines covering all manner of grape varieties and learn what you like the best way possible – trial and error. Sure, you’ll find a fair few that aren’t to your taste, but you’ll also narrow it down to exactly what it is you like the very best! 


3 – Take a Course

If there’s a wine tasting course or class on offer anywhere accessible to you, don’t pass up the opportunity to go along. You’ll learn how to taste wine correctly, what to look for in a bottle of quality and also what the key differences are between all common grape types – priceless information! You can also gain a lot of knowledge by researching online or reading a few books - there are many books available about wine in general and also more in-depth ones about either specific areas, such as Bordeaux, or grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon.


4 – Opinions Aren’t Facts

Just because a wine ‘expert’ thinks a wine is great does not mean it is in fact great. Every expert in the world has his or her personal preferences and tastes, so if you ever get the feeling you seem to like everything the experts hate, don’t worry about it. You’re drinking wine for enjoyment, not to please the pros - buy wine online from UK retailers in accordance with your own tastes alone.


5 – Price Isn’t Everything

Even if you’re happy to shell out top-dollar for the best wines on the market, don’t deny yourself the lower and middle-reaches of what’s out there too. There are some amazing wines on general sale today that cost next to nothing and yet have a flavour profile that’s every bit as desirable as wines ten times their price.


6 – If You Don’t Know, Ask

If there’s anything you’d like to know about wine, ask the retailers you’re looking to buy from. Whether it’s advice on how to pair wine with foods, how to buy red wine for a specific food pairing, which glasses to choose for which wine or even how to put together the perfect wine gift basket, that’s what we’re here for and what we love to do!


7 – Make Notes and Use Them

You won’t remember everything about the three-dozen wines you try over a year or two, so every time you try a new bottle, make note of what you liked or hated about it. This is a great way of ensuring you only ever end up with what you really like and don’t make the same mistake twice!


8 – Use the Web

There are so many blogs, forums and discussion groups on the web today that it’s never been easier to take tips and suggestions from real people. Share your own experiences and take home some real pearls of wisdom – the web’s a winner for wine lovers! 


9 – Stoke the Fire

If you’re really looking to take your newfound passion to the next level, consider taking a trip to see a real-life vineyard. There are plenty of amazing examples all over the UK and of course the continent beyond, but in any and all cases it’s safe to say that once you see how it all goes down behind the scenes, you’ll have a much deeper appreciation for every drop of the stuff.


10 – Pair Well

Last but not least, it’s not until you get a wine pairing spectacularly right or wrong that you realise how important it is to get it right! It’s perfectly possible to ruin what would otherwise be an amazingly high-quality bottle of wine simply by drinking it with the wrong foods – liquid gold can end up tasting unpleasant. Finding the perfect pairing is as easy as looking online for recommendations BEFORE opening a bottle and also use your past experiences to guide you, after all you know your own tastes better than anyone else.