The wine world is full of jargon, with words like “legs” and “nose.” But don’t let that intimidate you! We have ten easy tips to sound like a true wine expert when your friends talk about their favorite wines. Learn how to talk about the aroma, taste profile, and body of different types of wines so you can impress those at your next dinner party or happy hour event. The more knowledge you have, the more confidently you will choose a bottle for yourself or others!
Learn about the major wine-producing regions of the world.
The world’s major wine-producing regions are Italy, Spain, France, the United States, China, Argentina, and Chile.
That way, if someone asks what your favorite region is, you can answer!
But don’t worry; even knowing just one region will make it seem like you’re well-versed in all things vino.
For example: “I love California reds!” Or “my favorite Spanish white is rioja.” Next time, you could also ask for their favorites and try them out, so get up close and personal with Italian whites or French reds.
Become familiar with different grape varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
You can learn a lot about many different wines simply by knowing the grape varietal used to make them.
For example: “I’m in the mood for something with a little more spice” might be your cue to pick up an earthy, spicy Pinot Noir.
Or, if someone is looking for red wine but wants one without too much tannin, feel free to suggest a lower-tannin Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley or Santa Barbara County.
It’s also helpful to know what kind of flavors and aromas certain grapes tend to have so you’re not surprised when they turn out differently than expected! For example, if they mention wanting something fruity or floral, then maybe pick up a fruity or floral white wine bottle.
Knowing different grape varietals will give you the confidence to make good choices when trying new wines! We all know how intimidating it can be at first.
Learn how to pronounce wine names and relate words correctly.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we all know that it can be tricky at first!
You don’t want to be the person that pronounces “chianti” like chi-AHN-tee or thinks their wine is made of chard (as in, a type of leafy green vegetable).
It’s also important to remember what words sound like so you can avoid confusion. For example: “merlot” and “merr-LOW.” You may think they’re similar but trust us – it happens!
Pronouncing things correctly shows people how educated you are about different wines–and helps them take your recommendations more seriously too!
Check out this YouTube video to hear how to pronounce some common wine terms:
These tips should help make any day feel like an episode of Master Sommelier if that’s something you aspire towards… but even just knowing these basic tricks will help you sound like an expert when talking to your friends about their favorite wines!
Memorize the most famous wines that are easy to find in stores or restaurants in your area.
You can impress people by knowing wines they are most likely to have tried. For example, Rieslings are extremely popular for a reason! They’re sweet and fruity but often have citrus or honey notes, which make them unique. Or, if you know someone that loves Moscato, then it might be worth your time to try out a sparkling wine from Prosecco or Asti regions in Italy!
It’s fun to learn about the different wines people enjoy, so feel free to ask what their favorites are… you never know when you’ll discover something new together.
And don’t worry – everyone knows how overwhelming learning all this stuff can be at first; they won’t expect you to remember everything right away, but knowing these top wines will give you a great start!
Here is a list of the most popular wines in America!
- Sauvignon Blanc.
- Pinot Grigio/Gris.
- Merlot, Riesling.
These are all available at major grocery stores or larger liquor chains like BevMo or Total Wine, which makes them an easy choice if you’re trying to figure out where your local bottles come from- look on the back label for any of these names you might recognize!
Read up on standard wine-tasting terms so you can sound knowledgeable when describing your favorite bottle.
For example: “I found this wine to have a very broad, full body with notes of blackberry and vanilla.”
People will be impressed by your ability to describe wines in such detail!
It’s always nice knowing that you can sound knowledgeable on the subject, even if it still feels intimidating.
Check this YouTube video for a funny, quick guide to wine-tasting terms for beginners:
Wine-tasting terms are not as complicated as they might seem at first glance- just remember these four categories for reds and whites, respectively: fruit, earthy/spicy, floral/herbal, and oak. These should help get you started when trying out new bottles at home or while shopping!
Understand what food pairs well with each type of wine.
The best way to enjoy wine is with food- it’s a great social experience!
Pairing wines with different foods can highlight flavors you might not have noticed before or even bring out hidden notes of the wine itself.
It’s always fun trying new things together and sharing recommendations for what tastes good–and no one will be more excited about all your newfound knowledge than your friends.
For example: if you have cheese, then chardonnay pairs perfectly while steak calls for full-bodied reds like merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec… or depending on how bold of an eater they are, maybe Bordeaux blends too!
Here’s a great list of the most typical wines and their corresponding pairings:
Chardonnay: light seafood dishes, mild cheese, poultry, or pork
Pinot Noir: salmon/poultry/beef burgers, sandwiches & pizza (not too greasy)
Cabernet Sauvignon: beef steak, red meat stewed in tomato sauce with spices like chili powder or oregano, etc., blue cheeses such as Bleu d’Auvergne or Stilton.
Bordeaux Blend: strong-flavored fish like tuna tartare on crispy crackers that can handle some spice! Or even eggs benedict.
Riesling: salty appetizers, sushi rolls with creamy sauces or wasabi/ginger, etc., mild to medium cheeses.
Moscato: white peach tart or other fruit tarts that have a lot of sweetness and vanilla flavors? Maybe even some candy on the side too! Or, for those trying to cut back on dessert but still wanting something sweet, this can be a great option as well since it’s so flavorful without being too heavy.
It might seem intimidating at first but just remember that a lot of wines can be paired with more than one dish, and don’t think you have to stick with the traditional pairing if it’s not your favorite.
Let yourself experiment!
Order by price rather than grape variety or region if you’re unsure about what to order.
If you’re new to drinking wine or trying out different bottles, then this tip will help!
Sometimes it can be intimidating to pick out what type of wine you want, so just remember that there is no right or wrong answer. Plus, if the price ranges are clearly labeled, this will narrow down your options for finding something within budget!
Ramos Pinto Douro Red is an example of a mid-priced bottle with great flavor that has wide appeal because it is easy on the palate while still being complex enough to taste like an expensive purchase. Of course, more premium wines also have their place and usually showcase unique flavors, but depending on how much you’re looking to spend, they might not always represent the best value for money.
You can also ask your server- it’s their job, after all, so they should be able to suggest something great for any budget… and if nothing on the list sounds good, there is always Pinot Grigio!
Read up on how to serve wine properly, including the best glasses and temperature.
It’s important to understand the best temperature for serving wine and what glasses are ideal.
For example, most reds should be served at about 62 degrees Fahrenheit, while whites can vary- sparkling wines like Prosecco or Asti Spumante taste better, around 45 degrees.
The right glass can bring out the flavors of your wine, so it’s nice to know what shapes are best for certain types.
For example, a Burgundy glass is ideal for full-bodied reds, while Riesling should be served in a narrow flute.
It’s always fun to learn these little tricks and impress your friends with them!
In her book Welcome to Wine, An Illustrated Guide to All You Really Need to Know, Madelyne Meyer lists the best glasses for every type of wine.
She also includes a list of what wines pair best with which types of cheese, bread, and more, so it’s an excellent read for beginners.
Develop your palate by tasting as many different types of wine as possible.
The best way to learn about wine is by tasting as many different kinds as possible; it might be intimidating, but the more experience you get, the better your palette will become!
It’s also a great excuse for socializing and sharing stories with friends. You’ll never know what kind of wines are out there until you try them all-you. Just have to start somewhere!
For example, wines can be dark reddish-orange, light yellow/green, clear with sediment at the bottom… and everything in between.
The more experience you get tasting different types of wine, the better your palate will become, so it’s always fun to try new ones with friends. It’s always fun sharing good ones together.
Understand how to read a label, including grape variety, alcohol content, and country of origin.
It’s always nice to know what you’re getting yourself into before you start drinking!
For example, the country of origin is usually listed on the front along with information about grape variety, alcohol content, and vintage year if applicable; sometimes, there are more details on the back too.
Understanding how to read a label will help when shopping for wine at home or while picking up a bottle in a restaurant (you might be surprised how many people don’t give these labels much attention).
It’s also helpful figuring out which wines taste similar so you can find something new that fits your preferences better than old standbys like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Slow down and enjoy, don’t rush through the process! Always have fun, whether you’re out with friends or trying new bottles at home!
The more you learn about wine, the better- and don’t be intimidated by those who know a lot. People may make it sound like something only experts should do, but as long as you take your time to taste wines properly, there is always room for learning. It can be really fun if you approach it in the right way.
Matthew Mansour is a professional life coach, fitness trainer, health coach, a blogger with over 800 articles published to date. He enjoys reading and researching books that are reflective of the nature of who we are as humans, understanding the complexity of our minds, and using it as an advantage to propel us forward in life.
He is a self-help enthusiast and he is not ashamed about it! He’s always looking for his next fix of inspiration, motivation, insight, and wisdom from those who have been there before him!
He also does a lot of courses and research on the latest and greatest in the area of self-help, life coaching, and health.
He likes to share his discoveries with anyone who is interested in listening! His personal goal is to help people achieve great results in their lives, that is why he also has a blog about self-improvement.
He loves animals and he currently lives in New Jersey with his loving wife and his recently born child.