The Ten Most Important Things to Know About Wine

The 10 Most Important Things
to Know About Wine

1) Be honest. If you like something, even if your wife think is it smells like the trashcan, that is your opinion and there is no right, wrong, good or bad. Being truthful about what you like will also help those who are assisting you in a wine shop or restaurant find a wine that is to your liking.

2) Trust someone. Whether it’s a critic, sales person, sommelier or your next-door neighbor, find someone or even better, a few people who seem to share your sensibilities.

3) What’s for dinner? Wine and food go hand and hand, and it is helpful to know what you’re eating so you can choose a wine that matches the meal. Sometimes you might want to get a wine to drink as an aperitif. In this case, opt for a wine that is a little bit lower in alcohol if you know there are going to be more bottles to come.

4) Proper serving temperature. In general, reds should be served at room temperature. Some reds are better with a slight chill. Lighter, fruit driven reds such as Beaujolais and some Pinot Noirs are especially good after 20 -30 minutes in the fridge. White wines, on the other hand, are often served too cold. This will mask the flavor. Crisp white wines that don’t spend time in wood are better on the colder side but fuller bodied and barrel fermented ones should be chilled, but not cold.

5) Aeration. Giving wine some room to breathe is almost always beneficial. When wine is exposed to air it open ups, revealing more aroma and flavor. Some wines need just a few minutes while others can take hours. However, wines that are decades old have received plenty of oxygen exposure through the cork and don’t need to aerate. You should decant them for sediment but do this right before you are ready pour yourself a glass.

6) Good wine does not need to cost and arm and a leg. You’d be surprised how many wines sell for under $50 that are quite tasty and in the $25 – $50 range there are not just good wines, but great wines with the capacity to age!

7) Budget. Most people have a budget for wine, even if it is not written down. You might have a set amount for what you spend every month. Figure out how much of that you want to age and how much you are going to drink in the near future.

8) When to pull the cork? Most wine that is sold is consumed within 24 hours after purchase. However, a lot of wines need time. Of course there are those such as California Cabs that often take years to develop but wines that have recently been transported or bottled might be a little disjointed and need a few weeks or months to settle down. Always ask the sales person how well the wine is drinking.

9) To cellar of not to cellar? Not everyone is interested in aging wine but if you are make sure it is a wine that is worth cellaring. While many bottles are consumed too young, people often put away wines that don’t need that much time. Do your research. And keep in mind, some of us like wine that is youthful and zesty whiles others prefer the secondary or tertiary characteristics so think about your preferences when you’re stashing away that Russian River Pinot.

10) Know your sources. Especially when you are buying older or rare wines, make sure that you are getting them from a reputable company. Wine fraud has become a big issue over the last few years. You also want to make sure that the wine has been stored well. Inspect the bottles when you get them and make sure that the fill is as advertised.

11) Because we can’t stop at only ten! Enlist an expert. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 415-337-4083 or send an email to if you ever have any questions about wines. Simple or complex, we are here to help!