Wine buying tips

When you are buying wines you know nothing about, particularly in a bottle shop, choose the youngest vintages available. (Photo: Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels)

Ever found yourself in a wine region where you don’t know any of the producers?

Ask the shop attendant or waitstaff which wineries are generally regarded as the region’s best and go from there.

Australia is dotted with small wine regions so unless you are a frequent visitor, choosing a wine from a restaurant wine list, or in a bottle shop, can be daunting.

Here are some tips to maximise your chances of finding a good bottle:

  1. Look for the dominant grape variety. Even though most regions will have many different varieties for sale, there will usually be one or two that are more widely planted than others due to their suitability to the climate. So, if there is a whole shelf of shiraz and only a couple of bottles of pinot, it is safer to choose the shiraz.
  2. When you are buying wines you know nothing about, particularly in a bottle shop, choose the youngest vintages available. Of course, this makes sense when buying fresh white wine like riesling and sauvignon blanc, but it can also be an indicator of which wines are the most popular. Also, you can never be sure how a wine has been stored and less can go wrong with a younger wine.
  3. Think what varieties are most suited to the climate. Pinot and riesling love cool temperatures whereas Mediterranean varieties such as vermentino and fiano thrive in warm climates. Chardonnay is widely planted across Australia though it shines its brightest in cooler regions. Good examples of shiraz can be found across Australia, looking richer in the warmer regions and spicier in the cool ones.
  4. Wine show medals can be helpful in a sea of unfamiliar labels.
  5. Once you have success with wines from one producer, try the others in their range.
  6. Ask the shop attendant or waitstaff which wineries are generally regarded as the region’s best and go from there.

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