7 Common Wine Questions You Were Afraid to Ask, Answered

7 Common Wine Questions You Were Afraid to Ask, Answered

No one wants to feel stupid, especially when it comes to wine. But the truth is, there’s an infinite number of things to know about wine. And knowing them all is nearly impossible.

That’s why we’ve gathered the most common wine questions — so we could demystify all things wine, from tasting to serving to buying, and arm you with the information you need to feel confident talking about wine, whether you’re enjoying a bottle with friends or hosting a wine social.

Here are the 7 most common wine questions — with answers — so you have everything you need to never feel stupid about wine again:

Question #1: How do I know when a wine is good?

One of the biggest questions people have when it comes to wine has to do with quality — how do you know when a wine is “good?”

There are over 10,000 different varieties of wine grapes. That’s a lot of grapes! But you don’t need to know everything about every grape to recognize a good wine.

Think of wine as a car. A car has a ton of different parts. But you don’t have to understand how all of those parts work to drive the car. You don’t need to be a mechanic; you just need to know how to drive.

Wine works in the same way. You don’t need to understand all the different grapes and how they come together to determine if a wine is good. You don’t need to be a sommelier; you just need to know how to enjoy wine.

You’ll know a wine is good if you like it. It’s that simple! There’s a lot of people in the wine business that want to make you feel inferior if you don’t know everything about every grape, but the truth is, identifying a good wine is as simple as being able to identify a pleasurable taste.

Question #2: How do I keep track of my favorite wines?

We’ve all been there: you’re out to dinner, you try an incredible glass of wine, and you can’t wait to buy a bottle for your home. But then a few days pass, and all of a sudden, you can’t remember the name of the wine you loved so much — which makes finding it pretty much impossible.

Luckily, this one’s easy! If you want to keep track of your favorite wines, write them down. Use the Notes App on your phone or an app like Evernote or OneNote and write down where it’s from, the type of wine, and — if you’d like — the year. That way, when you’re ready to make a purchase, you have your list of favorite wines handy.

Question #3: Do red wines need to be aged for years and years to be good?

A lot of people think that for a red wine to be excellent, it needs to be old.

But that is absolutely, 100% not true.

Very few red wines need to be aged — in fact, most of the wine on the market today is made to be drunk within the first year. And most of the ones that do need a little more time are already aged before they hit the shelves.

So don’t worry about aging your red wine. Pop open the bottle and enjoy.

Question #4: When trying a new wine, how do I know what I’ll like and what I won’t? I’m scared of change!

When it comes to wine, it’s a great big world out there. There are SO many wines to discover, and your favorite is probably out there on a shelf, waiting for you to taste it. But if you’re afraid to try new things, you’ll never discover it!

But you also don’t want to buy a bottle of wine you won’t like. So what should you do?

Well, if you take notes on the different wines you like (as we suggested above), you’ll start to see patterns. Maybe you like wine from a particular region or you enjoy a certain type of grape. Once you have that knowledge, it can help guide you into trying new wines that you’re likely to enjoy. For example, if you check your notes and realize that three of your favorite wines come from Argentina, it’s a good indicator that buying a bottle from Argentina is a safe bet.

Question #5: What, exactly, are tannins?

Tannins are a compound found in red wines (not whites) that are responsible for the level of bitterness in the wine. More tannins = more bitterness. If you want a wine with more tannins, try a Bordeaux or a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you want a wine with fewer tannins, stick to a Pinot Noir or a Merlot.

Question #6: Do I need to refrigerate my wine?

People want to know if they should refrigerate their wine. Short answer, yes. But here’s the deal: most wines — both red and white — are totally over-refrigerated. The colder a wine is, the less flavor it will have. So you want to give it time to rest outside of the refrigerator before serving.

With white wines, pull them out of the fridge an hour before serving. For red wines, give them at least two hours out of the fridge before drinking. If you don’t have that kind of time, pour the wine back and forth between bottle and glass; as you expose it to the air and the glass (both at room temperature), the temperature will start to come down.

Question #7: How should I store my wine?

The last question about wine that we hear all the time is “how do I store it?”

The most important thing to consider when storing your wine is to keep it out of direct sunlight and keep the temperature consistent. If you have a basement or wine cellar, fantastic! Store it there. If not, the bottom of a closet is just fine.

You now know the answers to the most frequently asked questions about wine. So get out there and be confident in your expert-level wine knowledge!

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