United States












New Zealand


South Africa



Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay


Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Moscato, Pinot Grigio


Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel


Malbec, Bonarda


Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc


Shiraz, Chardonnay


Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner


Tempranillo, Albarino, Garnacha, Palomino


Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir


Pinotage, Chenin Blanc

Reading a Wine Label


At first glance, a wine label can be confusing to those just getting started. Luckily, New World wine producers have made it easier on wine beginners by listing the grape(s) directly on the label. Old World regions have typically relied on the wine consumer to be familiar enough with the region to know, for example, that Red Burgundy is Pinot Noir.


Old World Wines might read like this:

Chateau Moulin de Grenet 2009 Lussac St. Emilion


New World wines might read like this:

Cakebread 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley


The French wine lists “Saint-Emilion,” assuming the consumer realizes that wines from Saint-Emilion are mostly Merlot. The wine from Napa, California, on the other hand, lists both the region and the grape variety. As you study more about wine, you’ll become more and more accustomed to all the wine varietals and the Old World regions that produce them.


Old World wine producers are slowly realizing that in order to compete on the global market, they need to make it easy on the consumer. But as much as times may change, a deep understanding of how to read a wine label will always be a useful skill.


There are a few important components of a wine label. Their placement may vary slightly but if you know what you’re looking for, they’ll be easier to spot:





Alcohol Percentage



Optional extras:




Tasting Notes


Quality Level: AOC, DOC, etc.


Once you’re armed with the basic tools, you can explore more complex labels, such as the late harvest Rieslings of Germany. For more on that, click here.


For more how to read a wine labels, such as varietal versus appellation labeling, click here.


Buying Wine

We live in an age in which sourcing wine has never been easier. Looking for a wine from Crete? The wine shop in your town will likely carry it, and if not, you can easily find a wine retailer online. It’s in the hands of the consumer to shop for the best deal or for the most elusive, rare bottle, which can often be shipped to your doorstep.


Savvy shoppers will stay on top of ever-changing wine shipping laws based on interstate policies. Some states cannot have wine shipped to them, while others have more relaxed laws.


Before you can start investing in a full collection, you’ll need to discover your palate by embracing opportunities to taste and determine what you like. When dining out with friends or at a party, be open minded! A rich Cabernet Sauvignon might woo you initially, but you may also take a liking to exotic Rieslings depending on your mood. There is no better way to discover wine than by tasting everything. We have plenty of tools that will help: Best Buy Cheat Sheet, Making the Purchase and Bargain-Friendly Bordeaux will all help guide you on your path to wine bliss.


Wine Serving Tips

Now that you have taken the time to learn how-to-taste wine, the regions and grapes of the world, reading a wine label and the essentials for buying wine, it’s time to drink it!


For starters, make sure that your wine is being served at its absolute best. To do that, pay attention to these three tenets of wine service: Glassware, temperature and preservation.



Each wine has something unique to offer your senses. Most wine glasses are specifically shaped to accentuate those defining characteristics, directing wine to key areas of the tongue and nose, where they can be fully enjoyed. While wine can be savored in any glass, a glass designed for a specific wine type helps you to better experience its nuances. Outfit your house with a nice set of stems you will reap the rewards.



All wine is stored at the same temperature, regardless of its color. But reds and whites are consumed at quite different temperatures. Too often people drink white wines too cold and red wines too warm, limiting how much you can enjoy the wine. A white that’s too cold will be flavorless and a red that’s too warm is often flabby and alcoholic. Here is a key to ideal wine service temperatures:


Wine Service Temperatures

Champagne, Sparkling, and Dessert Wine: 40° F

Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio: 45-48°F

Chardonnay, Chablis: 48-52°F

Pinot Noir: 60-64°

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz: 64-66° F © 2014