Wine Basics - Introduction to Wine, Wine Drinking

Wine Basics - Introduction to Wine, Wine Drinking

Do you know what wine is, how wine is made, or what differentiates one wine from another? You don't need to be a wine expert to enjoy wine, but knowing more about it can enhance your wine-drinking experience. Learning the basics about wine will help you to pick out better wines, pair wines with better food, and better understand the experience. You'll also be able to impress your friends!
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Corks, Screw Caps, and Boxes

Wine is not as fragile or sensitive to temperature as milk or juice, but it is perishable and must be properly sealed against the environment. Wine bottles have traditionally been sealed with natural corks covered by foil capsules, but today some wine makers use synthetic corks, screw caps, or boxes. Each has advantages and disadvantages; some wine traditionalists treat natural cork as the only appropriate way to seal wine bottles but you can comfortably buy wine sealed with synthetic cork, screw caps, or in a box.

What Are the Big Six Wine Grapes?

If you are going to learn very much about wine, you need to learn about — and get to know — the so-called "Big Six" wine or grape varieties. The Big Six wine grapes are: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These six wine grape varieties make up about 80% of all wines made around the world, so familiarity with the flavors and aromas of these six grapes means you'll be familiar with most of the wines you will encounter.

Problems with Wine Tasting Notes & Scores

Everywhere you look and see discussions about wine, you are sure to find wine tasting notes and wine scores. There isn't a wine review out there that doesn't include tasting notes about the wine and some sort of score for the wine. Even this site has plenty of tasting notes and something similar to a wine score, though it's not a score in the usual sense. You shouldn't always pay too much attention to either, though, because wine tasting notes and wine scores aren't always the best way to be introduced to a new wine.


One popular corkscrew isn't actually a corkscrew at all because there is no "screw" part to it. Upon initial examination, it can be difficult to understand how it's supposed to remove corks from wine bottles at all, leading some to think that the name "Ah-So" comes from the reaction people have once they see how it works — and it does work well, though not consistently enough to warrant using as your standard cork remover.

What Makes a Seasonal Wine?

There are frequent references in wine articles and wine books to "seasonal" wines — wines that are better for summer, fall, winter, or spring. How can a wine be better suited to one season rather than another? What makes one wine more of a "summer wine" but another more of a "winter wine"?

There is no simple formula for wines being seasonal; instead, it's a question of what wines feel like and how a wine pairs not just with food, but also with the surrounding temperature or weather.

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