Wine for Beginners: An Introductory Guide to the World of Wine



Welcome to the world of wine! Do you love the taste of wine, but don’t know where to start in the world of wine when it comes to learning about it? You’re not alone! Many people are intimidated by wine because they feel like they don’t know enough about it. In this blog post, we will provide a basic introduction to wine and teach you the basics of how to choose, store, and serve wine. We’ll also discuss different types of wine and give you tips for pairing wines with food. Are you ready to learn more about the world of wine? Let’s get started!

The World of Wine Basics

So, when you think about wine for what it is. It is an alcoholic beverage that is made from grapes. But wine is more than just an alcoholic drink, there is so much potential. The more you know and understand about wine, the more you will enjoy not just the taste but the experience that comes with drinking this delicious beverage.

Red Wine Cheers

A Small Sip of History

Without delving too much into the world of wine, as it would be a blog post in itself, let’s just touch slightly on where it came from. Most people think that wine was created in France or Italy. However, archaeological records indicate that wine was first produced in China around 7000 B.C., followed by Armenia and Georgia, around 6100 to 6000 BC. There is a lot more to the world of wine than what most people would associate with now.

Wine Grapes

In short, wine grapes are not the grapes you purchase from your local supermarket. They’re special. Wine grapes are smaller, sweeter, and have lots of seeds. Most fruits are technically capable of making wine, but when the label simply states ‘wine’, then it will be created from special wine grapes.

Wine Grapes

Types of Wine

There are 5 main types of wine – Red, White, Rosé, Sparkling, and Dessert wine. Within each of these group types, there are hundreds of grape varieties. We understand that this may be daunting as they all have different characteristics and tastes. Let’s break down the 5 main types in the world of wine to help you understand this a little better…

Red Wine

Red wine is made using black grapes. Some of the most well-known varieties are Malbec, Merlet, Pinot Noir, and Grenache. Some of our favourites are Les Foncanelles Merlot and Familia Gascon Malbec.

White Wine

White wine is produced using white and occasionally black grapes. Here are some of the most popular wines: Sauvignon Blac, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio. Try our Allan Scott Sauvignon Blac, or Bottor Pinot Grigio.

Rosé Wine

Both light and sweet rosé are widely drunk, but the lighter rosé is more popular. Rosé is produced using black grapes, but they remove the skin before. Some of the rosés we love are Caves d’esclans, Whispering Angel, and Chateau Peyrassol, La Bastide.

Sparkling Wine

You can get sparkling wine in a variety of types, including white and rose. They also come in dry, rich and sweet. The winemaking style involves a secondary fermentation that makes bubbles. Visit our website to find your favourite sparkling wine.

Dessert Wine

So this wine is a fortified wine, and they use spirits to execute this process. This wine is very sweet but there are some dry wines that are fortified wines, such as Sherry. Click here to explore our sweet wines.

Reading the Wine Label

A wine label can be confusing at first. There will be things you can see quite clearly on the label, although some information may be a little harder to find when you’re unsure how to read the label correctly. And of course, some of the information may not be on the label at all.

Here are a few components that you should look out for when you are reading a wine label:

  • Country and region
  • Name and/or producer
  • Variety of grape
  • Vintage or non-vintage
  • Alcohol percentage
  • Sulfites
  • Sweetness

As mentioned, there are some pieces of information that may not be on the label. With the farming method not having to be mentioned on the label by law, it may be missing. Similarly, there is no requirement to list how the wine is made. These are things that you may have to do some extra homework on and research yourself with the particular brand or company.

Bottles of Wine on Shelf

How to Correctly Open a Bottle of Wine

Most bottles of wine will have either a screw top or a cork. Sparkling wine and corked wine are a little different, we will go into details below.

Screw Top

This is the most simple to conduct. Simply unscrew the bottle top and then you can replace it once you have finished pouring!

Wine Cork

For a wine cork, you will need a corkscrew.

  • First, remove the foil cover from the top of the bottle. If you struggle to do this, use the tip of the corkscrew to pierce a hole in the foil, to then lift it off.
  • Twist the screw into the cork
  • Using the hands of the corkscrew, pull them down and the cork should release upwards and out of the bottle.

Sparkling Wine Cork

So, a sparkling wine bottle will have a cork with a cage hugging the cork, this is because of the pressure from the bubbles inside the bottle.

  • Remove the foil from the top of the bottle, if you are struggling to do so, use a knife or the top of a corkscrew to pierce a hole in the foil.
  • The cage covering the corkscrew will have a small piece of wire sticking out which you can undo and pull off.
  • You can either use your hand to cover the cork or place a light tea towel or napkin over it under your hand. Keep the cork covered to stop it from popping out of the bottle.
  • Twist the bottle, not the cork, and it should begin to release slightly. You can then begin to twist the cork and it should release slowly from the bottle.

Top tip – Refrigerate your sparkling wine! The more chilled your bottle is, the less likely the cork will escape too quickly out of the bottle before you have a chance to stop it.

Pouring Champagne

How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last?

The type of wine and the storage conditions will ultimately decide how long your open bottle of wine will last. But there are a few things you can do to lengthen this period.

  • Red Wine

Red wine will last around 3-5 days with the cork in. It will need to be kept in a cool dark place. But it is good to remember that a light red wine will not last as well as a deep, powerful red due to its acidity.

  • White Wine

Light white wines will last around 5-7 days in the fridge and more full-bodied white wines will last around 3-5 days when being kept in the fridge. Overall, white wines will become less vibrant once opened from the first day but do have a good shelf life being kept in the fridge.

  • Rosé Wine

Rosé wine does follow the same amount of time as white wine depending on whether it’s a light or dark, sweet rosé. They are best left in the fridge, corked.

  • Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wines will lose bubbles pretty much after the first day of being opened. They are definitely better enjoyed on the day of opening but depending on how the wine has been made they can last around 1-3 days, corked in the fridge. But make sure you have a fantastic stopper at the top.

  • Dessert Wine

The sweeter your dessert wine is, the longer it will last once it is open. The sweeter wines can last up to 28 days but must be left in a cool, dark place.

Choosing the Correct Glassware

We’ve established already that there are many different types of wines, and yes you guessed it! There are also many different types of glasses that accompany the wide variety of grape types too. Along with this, the glass you choose to pair with your beverage really does matter. This is now backed up by research conducted by a Japanese medical group. They used a camera to detect how different glass shapes affected the density and position of vapors at the openings of different glasses.

Red Wine Glasses

Red Wine is served in a wine glass with a larger bowl in comparison to white wine. This is because red wines will typically have bolder tasting notes and benefit from being able to “breath more” than their white wine counterparts.

There are many different types of red wine glasses that will pair with specific wines in the red wine family. The glasses are similar but will help focus on certain characteristics.

  • Bordeaux – The largest of the red wine glass variety. This glass is paired best with bold red wines.
  • Standard Red Wine Glass – Use this glass for medium-bodied, slightly less alcoholic wines. This glass will soften spicy aromas as it allows fewer ethanol vapors to escape
  • Bourgogne – This works best for light red wines with more delicate, subtle aromas. As this large, round-sized bowl is perfect for collecting all of the aromas.Red Wine Glasses

White Wine Glasses

There are usually only 2 types of wine glasses that are paired mainly with white wine. The difference will be whether you’re serving a light-bodied or full-bodied white wine.

Typically white wine is served in a smaller bowled wine glass with a longer stem. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Maintain a cooler temperature as it is further away from your hand whilst holding the glass.
  • Preserve aromas with a smaller bowl.White Wine Glasses

Rosé Wine Glasses

Rosé wine is best served in a white wine glass. It has the same rules as white wine does, and it is perfectly served chilled but not on the ice. It is important to remember, The higher the quality of rosé, the warmer the serving temperature.

Sparkling Wine Glasses

When serving sparkling wine, there are four distinct glasses to select from. This includes anything from prosecco, to champagne.

  • Flute – This glass is the most well-known sparkling wine glass. It has a long thin stem and a long bowl on top. The smaller amount of surface area at the top helps to contain the bubble in the drink.
  • Tulip – The tulip is suited for less dry and more fruity sparkling wines as the bowl is thin at the bottom and larger at the top.
  • Wide Tulip (better known as a white wine glass) – This glass is considered best for dry, aged sparkling wines as the wide rim helps to collect all of the aromas.
  • Coupe – The coupe is a glass straight out of The Great Gatsby. This glass is perfect for sweet wines and the very wide, open rim of the glass will mean bubbles escape more quickly. So drink up with this glass!Champagne Glasses

Dessert Wine Glasses

With there being a few different dessert wines to choose from, the different wines generally match up with a different glass style and shape. But generally, dessert wines are meant to be served in smaller glasses. You will most likely associate a port glass with a dessert wine that has a small stem and a large, long bowl on top.

Dessert Wine Glasses

Tips on Pairing Wine With Food

Great wine and great food go hand in hand together. But let’s explore some of their most perfect pairings. Don’t get me wrong, wine can be enjoyed with all foods but some are better matched together than others.

Red Wine

Pair your red with beautiful, rich foods. We definitely recommend pairing it with red meat, including roast beef and steak. Also, think charcuterie boards filled with rich, dense cheese and a variety of succulent meats. But the best is chocolate! Chocolate and red wine are a match made in heaven.

White Wine

White wine pairs perfectly with a range of different lighter foods. It works well with appetisers and salads to start off your meal but also pairs well with poultry like chicken and turkey. Or a range of different fish dishes, including shrimp, crab and lobster. And don’t forget the cheese! Serve your white wine alongside a cheese plate of cream Havarti, gouda, and muenster cheeses.

Rosé Wine

Even though rosé is the perfect summer drink whilst on holiday, it doesn’t just have to be enjoyed on the shores of a tropical island. Light, dry rosé wines pair well with sushi, fish salads, and cheese. Whereas, rich, sweeter rosé wines are better paired with grilled white and red meat. We would recommend avoiding paring it with spicy or salty foods.

Sparkling wine

Sparkling wine is perfectly paired with a celebration. But we can pair it with some food too. It goes well with sweet and salty appetiser like cured meats, fruits, and cheeses. You could even pair with all three! Also, it matches up well with seafood like caviar and oysters.

Dessert Wine

Well, it is in the name. But dessert wine doesn’t just have to be paired with sickly, sweet desserts. They do pair perfectly together but the wine can be paired with some savoury options too. Think, nuts and cheese. Sweet wine can complement spicy and nutty flavours too!

World of Wine Conclusion

We hope that you now have a better understanding of wine. But it is important to remember that all wine is delicious and when served correctly it can reach an even better taste, so either way, you’re winning!

Explore our wine selections here and if you need some assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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