What should I look out for when choosing a bottle of wine?

Are you looking for a red or white wine? Do you have a price in mind? Is it a gift? You prefer dry or sweet?

Walking in a wine shop can be like getting questioned in class! The only difference being that we can walk away this time.

And how do we not look ignorant in front of the fellow who is doing his best to make us feel uncomfortable?

Ah yes, red, dry, oak, tannins. Please guide me in your choices of labels that grow on a clay soil rich in magnesium.

Or you could just ask for some proper help and tell the person in front of you that you prefer sweeter wines (they’ll be thinking you’re a novice) and that it is a gift, and that your budget is $50.

If you’re lucky you’ll get a decent Chardonnay or Moscato, but I wouldn’t be 100% sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

So what should you look out for when choosing a bottle of wine?


There are plenty of apps out there that allow you to make a quick comparison of prices and value and of course wine types.

Check out tom’s guide on the various apps you can use!

Read the label

Most people who drink wine regularly will choose a good table wine for that everyday glass of red that many researchers say it’s actually good for you.

Avoid as much as you can wines that contain high amounts of sulphites and sugar or fake bubbly wines that resemble champagne or prosecco with weird name variations.

Look at what grapes were used, the region, the age, the vineyard. Have them tell you a story of that vineyard, and why that wine is the way it is.

Check out our wine tips on wine label reading!

Go for wine tasting event

Listen carefully so you can savour those memories when the wine runs through your taste buds, close your eyes and enjoy!

Let us help you with a few suggestions:

1. Want something light and easy to drink? Then go for a “good” Chardonnay, a local favourite! Or maybe you prefer a little pizazz ? For easy bubbles that should tickle your buds Prosecco is an excellent choice, wallet savvy and in many styles, but don’t let the name fool you: dry types are sweeter while the Brut is drier and with a stronger presence. And always go for a DOC which is a guarantee of quality Glera grapes in the Unesco heritage Prosecco site in north-eastern Italy.

2. Feeling like trying a red table wine without too many complicated tannins – choices should be Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Nero.

Or maybe a more robust flavour is more appealing for your evening meal where you don’t really have to drive? So the classics like Amarone, Chianti, Ripasso, crawl up from the list to keep you company while you enjoy your favourite steak on the grill with friends.

Ultimately, there is only so many recommendations we can try to give, the universe of wine is huge and the best suggestions is to slowly try them all, and build your taste in doing so! But remember to keep track of what you’ve been drinking!

Happy ‘sommeliering’!