11 Foolproof Tips For Choosing Wine

11 foolproof tips to choose wine

Brought to you by Nuffnang and Vinomofo

I’m ashamed to say it, but our wine rack is nearly empty. It’s like a barren wineless wilderness. I know the poor, lonely wine rack needs a-filling, but the question is, with what? I asked some of my favourite bloggers how they choose wine and for their best wine selection tips and they totally came up trumps. I love that their tips, like the Vinomofo wine selection, are all different and all special. The Beatles were right, you can always get by with a little help from your friends.


1. Cathy from Peregrination Gourmande

“Here’s a tip about packaging of French wines – on the top of the cork stopper on the metallic cover there are codes. There is a letter R or N. R is for “récoltant” and N for “négociant”. You definitely want to choose the ones labelled with an R because they come directly from the vineyards and not subject to any other processes.

Also, when you go to a  French wine bar, the bar tender should ask you if you want a light or a strong red wine. I like the wines that “un vin qui reste en bouche ou qui est long en bouche” which means you can feel the taste of the wine longer in your mouth. If the taste disappears quickly, it’s not very nice. You need to experience the flavours.  Just say that at a dinner party and everyone will be suitably wowed!”

2. Jim from Mr and Mrs Romance 

“I usually go with what I know – which is mostly Australian and a little bit of NZ. I think about general regions – Shiraz from South Australia, Pinots from Marlborough, NZ, Chardonnays from Central NSW – but that doesn’t always help. And neither does price. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s a cracker.

One thing I do like to look for if I’m hunting out a really good bottle is the dip. I’ve found that the better the quality of the wine, the bigger the hollow in the base of the bottle. I don’t know why this is – I presume it’s because it costs more to make a bigger dip so wine makers only do that for their best stuff. This doesn’t apply to things like Riesling though for some reason, which are always flat-bottomed.

I always check out the description on the label too. I avoid things like very fruity rosés or a light-bodied shiraz, which isn’t what I’m looking for in those varietals.”

3. Karin from Calm To Conniption
“There has been a lot of white wine consumed in my time so I kind of know my labels that I like now. My safe bets, if you will. #winesnob It is the reds I struggle with. I have now taken to typing into the notes section on my phone the name of any I like because I can never remember. A good label can sucker me in though. Like I am drinking little drops of its creator’s creativity. Let’s hope!”

4. Nancy from Plus Ate Six

“I always look for Australian or New Zealand – never order American or French!!! Although I did manage to literally drink myself sick in Napa last year on a winery crawl that started at 10am and finished at 6pm. If it’s white I look for Reisling or Sauv Blanc from Claire Valley, Margaret River or Marlborough. If it’s Chardonnay I look for Marlborough. I have a few wines I know I like so I’ll always head for them first. Otherwise I go mid range and a name I like. Or if I’m in a shop a label I like.”

5. Nicole from The Builder’s Wife

“A creature of habit, I usually stick to the same wines, however when choosing a gift or looking for something new, it’s always a catchy name or funky label that hooks me in!”

6. Nicole from Champagne and Chips

“My main way of choosing wine is based on classic varietals from classic regions. A few examples are: Sparkling wine from a cool climate such as Tasmania. Chardonnay or Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula or Yarra Valley. Shiraz from Heathcote or the Barossa (if you like big rich styles). Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River. Riesling from the Clare or Eden Valley. Pinot Grigio from the King Valley, or again Mornington Peninsula.

I also always buy above $15. While there are some good examples below this price point, generally about $15 guarantees a bit more care has gone into the wine and that the quality of the fruit in the first instance is higher. For wines like Chardonnay and Cabernet that are aged in oak, above $20 usually means they have spent time in barrels rather than just having oak chips dipped into a tank. The wine will have a better balance.”

7. Renee from Mummy Wife and Me

“I always go for a New Zealand Sav Blanc. I like my men and my wine from New Zealand! The clearer the colour of the wine, the better for me.”

8. Shannon from My2Morrows 

“I’m really lazy with my wine purchasing and tend to stick to what I know and once I like something I buy it in bulk so the wine rack is always fully stocked! No wine in the house = crisis around these parts! I have my faves and tend to stick to them as there’s nothing more annoying than trying a new wine and being disappointed.”

9. Shari from Good Food Week

“When I first started drinking my Mum and I were in a pretty fancy restaurant in Canberra and we asked the waitress to recommend a wine to go with our meals. She promptly told us that she only very rarely drank ‘goon’ and would be no help. Upon finally choosing a wine, she poured a glass for each of us and then proceeded to walk off with the bottle. Mum pointed out that we intended on having a whole bottle to share, when the waitress replied that she hadn’t opened a new bottle and that was all that was left. We took this as a sign to never rely on wait staff to help us choose a wine! These days when it comes to selecting a good wine, I normally do most of my research online. One of my favourite sites is Matching Food and Wine

10. Sonia from Sonia Styling

“When it comes to choosing a bottle of wine – whether at a (local, independent) bottle shop, restaurant or at a winery – we like to ask a lot of questions. By having a conversation, you not only learn about different varieties and regions, but you also get to know the characteristics you enjoy in a wine. It’s a great form of research and a good way to broaden your knowledge of wine, so that you can confidently choose a wine off the shelf or from the menu.”

11. … And last but not least, ME!

The way I choose my wine is somewhat eclectic but it is very reliable. I simply choose the wine with the coolest name, or if all the names are boring, I look for the coolest label, because I like to have something easy on the palate and easy on the eye!

11 foolproof ways to choose wine

So when two bottles of wine from Vinomofo  landed on my doorstep, named Fanny Lime Head and Bisou Bisou (that’s Kiss Kiss in French)  and adorned with the coolest labels in town, it was love at first sight. The love affair continued when we opened the bottles too but that’s not surprising seeing as the wines that the peeps at Vinomofo sell are the wines they  love to drink. If they don’t love it, they don’t sell it.

11 foolproof ways to choose wine

The names and labels aren’t the only cool things about Vinomofo. Another is their secret deals — these are wines  that are so fantabulous, at prices so awesome, that the only way they can get their hands on them is by agreeing to keep the identity of the wine and the producer secret. They’re happy for everyone to drink them, but they don’t want to see them advertised anywhere at that price. I love that – it’s just so secret squirrel! A lot of the deals are limited, so you have to get in quick to avoid a VinoFOMO Vinomofo scenario… Ain’t nobody got time for that!

11 foolproof ways to choose wine

And that’s not all, Vinomofo also co-produce their own branded wines labelled Kinda Independent Wine Company that aren’t available anywhere else. That’s all kinds of exclusive, isn’t it?

11 foolproof ways to choose wine

There’s so many reasons to love Vinofomo, and not just because of the cool names and the cool labels (although that’s always a plus!) At the end of the day, no matter how you choose your wine, we all want the best wine for the best price (who doesn’t love a price guarantee,) because let’s face it, we deserve to drink the best. And that’s where Vinomofo delivers. Literally. To your door.

Let’s talk wine, how do you choose yours? Have you ever bought wine online? And, how cute are those Cinderella’s Royal Table champagne glasses? The Fairy Godmother gave them to us as a honeymoon gift! True story!

Oh and one last but one very important thing… Keep calm and drink responsibly.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any financial compensation for this post but I did get two bottles of wine to taste. As usual, all opinions are my own.

  • Great post, Sam. Thank you for including me in it. Such fantastic advice on choosing wine. I was particularly interested in what Peregrination Gourmande had to say. That’s a great tip.

    • Thanks for being part of my expert panel! Cathy’s so clever – when it comes to wine, she knows what’s what!

  • If you haven’t seen it, watch the scene in Mad Men where Megan sings Bisou Bisou to Don 🙂
    Like you, I love a good label and name. I’m a big fan of a Marlborough sav blanc and a good champagne or sparkling- Piper or Veuve Cliquot 🙂

    • I haven’t watched Mad Men – but it’s on my TV wish list so I will look out for the Bisou Bisou bit! The Bisou Bisou was not just a great name, but great bubbles too. It was a blanc de blanc, it’s the first time I’ve had that, but it won’t be the last!

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    What a great insight into some of these cool bloggers. I stick with a New Zealand Sav Blanc, can’t go wrong usually. #IBOTteam

  • I struggle with wine, because I thought I had found some varieties that worked for me but then tried different brands in that variety and didn’t like them at all. Sometimes I like the variety you can get in wine and sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me (usually when the one I want isn’t in stock). These days I tend to stick to the one I like for simplicity’s sake. Though I do also go for cool names/funky labels for gifts. I find that everything is either too sweet or too acidic, it’s really hard to find good middle ground.

    • It’s amazing how a variety can be so different between brands but I guess that’s all down to where the grapes are grown and how the wine is made etc. If we find a wine we really like, we stock up as if our wine drinking life depends on it!

  • Betty

    Oh wine, how I love thee. Hit me with a NZ Marlborough and I’m a happy girl!

    • One day I want to do a wine tour of Marlborough, home of some of my favourite wines!

      • Betty

        You’re speaking my language! I’m pretty sure Nic would be on that in a heartbeat.

        I can smell the vino from here 😉

        • I love me a winery tour – I hired a minibus and got 14 of my mates together for a wine tour to the Hunter Valley. Best birthday ever!

  • jess

    I’m pretty clueless, but I do stick to regions. Cab Sav from Margaret River is usually a safe bet!

  • Hugzilla

    I’m with Nancy! I definitely agree that Australian and New Zealand wines are the BEST!! I love to try new varieties and will often get sucked in by a clever name or a cool looking label!

    • If you like a clever name, or a cool looking label you will love Vinomofo, they have those in abundance! I don’t think I ever tried a wine I didn’t like, I just like some more than others!

  • I am absolutely going to have to try the Fanny Lime Head! What a cracker of a name xx

  • I just ordered another case of Bisou Bisou I’m a sucker for a wine label. Usually my wine of choice is a Malborough Sav Blanc but I love the Vinomofo can pick for us and expand our repertoire. Cheers lovely

    • We’re getting some more of the Fanny Lime Head because we’re very partial to a Riesling and a box of Rose too! Think pink! I love having new wines to try and what’s not to love about the wine being delivered direct to your door?!

  • I grew up in Tassie so have a soft spot for a Tassie sparkling or a pinot. But lets be honest, I’ll drink almost anything!

  • Some great tips there. I usually stick to what I know but will sometimes venture into unchartered territory (Tassie Pinot Noirs for eg).

    • I once had Mongolian wine, that was very unchartered territory and very delicious! Now that Autumn is here, I’m loving the red wine weather!

  • I’m hanging my head in shame now that I’ve admitted to vomiting on a winery crawl!! I love the label and name of Fanny Lime Head – that would definitely catch my eye too.

    • I think vomiting on a winery crawl is a rite of passage. I was sick as a dog, only sicker on an epic wine crawl in Mudgee. It wasn’t pretty but neither was the name of the wine! LOL!

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Great tips and I love how you asked for blogger advice. LOL I’ve heard your way is the way that a lot of people choose wine.

    • I always get by with a little help from my friends! Everyone is choosing wine like me? I’m a trend setter and I didn’t know it! LOL!

  • Mr and Mrs Romance

    Great post, Sammie! Thank you for sharing my tips too! They’re in good company with some excellent pointers for finding a bottle of the good stuff. Jxx

  • It took a long time for me to find the wine I liked best after slogging through dry as toast chardonnays and soupy reds, I’ve settled on Adelaide Hills sav blancs as my favourites. I have a friend who I trust to buy me a nice glass and then I go from there. Shaw & Smith, Bird in Hand and Petaluma Croser Sparkling are my current faves! Annoyingly I don’t buy much wine because my husband doesn’t drink it (unless it’s a super sweet dessert style) so it seems pointless opening a full bottle.

    • Oh I love super sweet wines too! I think it’s always worth opening a full bottle, it’s good for a few days, and my family doctor used to tell me, that a glass of red a day keeps the doctor away!

  • I’m a bit of a wine snob, not by price but by taste. Some wines I will refuse to drink, my mum can’t believe it!!

  • Lots of great tips here! Thanks for including me. x

  • Gosh I wish I could drink so I could try every one of these suggestions to drink my way through the tips!

  • I am totally saving these tips for next time I have a dinner party, haha! I don’t drink wine (or any alchohol) so I usually have to rely on my Mum for tips – or I buy whatever friends have bought previously, haha! xo

  • Ohhhh Bisous bisous!!! I want to try this one! Well everyone goes for Australian and NZ, I need to try the NZ ones in July! xx cathy

  • I choose mine based on my extensive knowledge of the wine making craft and my ability to never forget what wine I bought and liked last time. Or when that fails (because it’s total bull shit) I choose something that looks as though you could stand a spoon up in it, or a Hunter Shiraz.

    • Oh yes, love me some Hunter Shiraz. Apart from a cool name or a funky looking label, choosing “what I liked last time” is a cracking wine selection strategy. Well played, Babs, well played!

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