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4 Wine Buying Tips Everyone Should Know

Written by Madeline Puckette

Wine Buying Tips Everyone Should Know

These 4 wine buying tips will ensure that you’re appreciated, whether it’s a group of casual wine drinkers or the seasoned wine expert. They are versatile enough to use on a hot date or for buying bulk wine for a wedding. The idea behind these tips for buying wine is simple: when it comes to enjoying wine, it’s all about experience. If you get the experience right then the wine will follow (unless it’s god awful swill).

pinkies up!
Pinkies up!

When it comes to enjoying wine, it’s all about experience.

#1 When dining out: convey the illusion of preparedness

If you’re a planner, pick out the wine before you get there and ask for it to be delivered when you are seated as soon as you arrive. If you come in last minute, you can still accomplish this gesture discreetly by loitering in the bathroom with the wine list. What matters is that when you and your guests are seated you have the first bottle of the night already on its way. It saves valuable time, your wine will be appreciated, and you will look like a boss.

no matter how you look at this picture, the Leonetti Cellars wine looks more sexy
People are fickle. Size matters when it comes to gifting wine.

#2 When buying a gift: bottle size matters

Fortunately for us, people are fickle. The weight of something is still an indication of quality and importance. There are many great wines that come in small packages, but those are not the ones you should buy as a gift. Save those for yourself and share them with your close pals. Gifts are meant to be appreciated in the moment that you hand them over. With every wine gift I look for “Oh Wow! This looks fancy!” not “Thanks. What is this?” (aka Can you tell me why I should care?) You still have to select a good wine, but remember presentation and some superficial traits matter. Oh, and if you’re serious about wrapping your wine bottle you will be delighted by this post How to Wrap a Wine Bottle.

“Oh Wow! This looks fancy!” not “Thanks. What is this?”


#3 When buying wine in bulk for a party: use the 75% rule

I don’t care if it’s 100° F outside, 75% of American wine drinkers at parties ask for red wine. Do your wine buying budget a favor and think realistically about your attendees: are you buying wine for the Lil’ Ol’ Lady Buttery Chardonnay Club or are you sourcing wine for your best buddy’s wedding? And remember not all red wines are created equal, so think about the environment, menu, and time of day. Is the event outdoors? Lean more towards lighter red wines for outdoor parties like pinot noir and merlot. Is it in the middle of winter? Bold wines will warm up your soul. Find a small merchant to source your wine, most offer you 15% off for buying multiple cases.

#4 When handed the wine list: do as the Romans do

I’m sitting in a restaurant gawking at a 25 page wine list. My friend Daryl is leaning over me, a ticking clock reminding me that a wine buying decision needs to be made. I’m usually very creative with my wine choices, but sitting there in a French restaurant staring at a wine list that is about 85% French wines it is obvious, I need to order something from France. I did. And it was goddamn perfect. So take it from me: If you’re in a French restaurant, get something from France. If you’re having Italian food, try a red wine from d’Abruzzo or from Montefalco. Wherever you go, try the wine that fits the place.

If you go to Cheesecake Factory, I have no recommendations, because they do “everything.”

nuf said.

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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