Most wine is made with grapes, but they're not like the ones you find in the grocery store. Wine grapes (latin name: Vitis vinifera) are smaller, sweeter, have thick skins, and contain seeds. There are over 1,300 wine grape varieties used in commercial production but only about 100 of these varieties make up 75% of the world's vineyards.
Today, the most planted wine grape in the world is Cabernet Sauvignon ("cab-err-nay saw-vin-yon"). Find out more about the basics of wine (and which ones to try) in the following sections:
Serving Wine and Choosing Glassware
Develop Your Sense of Taste
Learn how to pick out flavors in wine and identify pesky wine faults. Additionally, your tasting practice will help you spot great quality too! Definitely check out this how-to video on the 4-step tasting method that's used by professionals. (Don't worry, it's easy to learn!)
- The Wine Tasting Method (Video)
- Tips on Tasting: Wine Bouquet vs Aroma
- Learn How to Taste Wine and Develop Your Palate
- The Real Difference Between Flavor vs Taste
- How to Write Excellent Wine Tasting Notes
- Find Out if You’re a Wine Supertaster
- Identifying Flavors in Wine
- 7 Wine Faults and How to Sniff Them Out
Wine industry folks enlist additional tips and tricks for handling wine. Below you'll find some of our most popular articles on handling wine like a pro.
The Master Guide (Magnum Edition)
If you're looking for an amazing wine guide book definitely check out Wine Folly: The Master Guide. It's packed with wine basics, how to guides, types of wine, terms, wine regions, and amazing maps to help you find great quality wines around the world.
WINNER! 2019 James Beard Awards - Beverage BookBuy Book
Wine and Food Pairing
A great wine and food pairing creates synergy together on your tastebuds. How? Well, the concepts of flavor pairingare moderately complex because they involve hundreds of compounds.
Fortunately, the basics of food and wine pairing are easy to learn – and fun to practice!
- Never Fear The Grill: Wine Pairings with Barbecue
- 6 Tips on Pairing Wine and Cheese
- What Wines To Pair With Chocolate?
- Pairing Bold Red Wines With Vegetarian (or Vegan) Food
- Food and Wine Pairing Basics (Start Here!)
- Herb and Spice Pairings with Wine
- 20 Amazingly Simple Food and Wine Pairing Ideas
- DIY Food and Wine Pairing Experiment
- It’s All About The Sauce: Pairing Wine with Lamb, Steak, and Other Red Meat
- Simple Science of Food and Wine Pairing
The wine marketplace is constantly changing. It's also a big market. There are over 100,000 labels registered with the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) each year.
Despite the vastness of options, there are some tactics you can use to find more of what you like. Consistently.
- 3 Useful Tips on Reading Wine Labels
- The Secret to Finding Great (Value) Wine
- 2017 Wine Buying Guide
- Reality of Wine Prices (What You Get For What You Spend)
- Dear Delicious Cheap Wine, Stop Lying To Me
- A Pragmatic Approach to Using Wine Ratings
- Buying Wedding Wines: What to Get and How Much
- 120 Most Common Wine Descriptions (Infographic)
How to Become a Wine Expert
Want to work in the wine business? Here are a few articles that will help you succeed.
- The Secret to Tasting Like a Master Somm: “Impact Compounds”
- The Best Beginner Wine Books
- The Secret to Blind Tasting? Know “The Grid”
- How to Become a Sommelier
- Tips to Pass the Sommelier Certification
- The One-Stop Guide To Wine Education Courses
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Why Learn About Wine
Enhances Social Experiences
At its heart wine is a beverage best enjoyed in the company of others. A little bit of wine knowledge goes a long way by opening doors to new flavors and styles. Exploring wine is an inexhaustible adventure for which you'll need to enlist your friends and family.
Confidence Buying Wine
No one likes to go to the wine aisle and feel overwhelmed. Have you bought wine based on arbitrary ratings, ambiguous tasting notes, or the label? How would you like to walk in, confidently find your favorite wines, and leave 100% satisfied?
Improve Ability to Taste / Smell
Tasting/smelling wine doesn't have to be an exercise in snobbery. It only takes a brief pause to develop an awareness of what you're drinking. Knowing what you like will make it much easier to consistently find similar wines. This isn't limited to wine, learning a few basics can improve the taste/smell of just about anything.
Personal Challenge / Satisfaction
The wine world is immense. We like to see this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Do you have a favorite sports team, fashion designer, tv chef, or movie director? What if I told you that there are celebrity winemakers and that if you found your favorite winery/winemaker you'd never have to drink bad wine again?