How to find a wine you like

Two people sitting side by side holding a glass of wine
Selecting a new wine to try can be a bit overwhelming. You might have never heard the name of that varietal before. Or, you might simply be going off the look of the label. Maybe you’re trying to select a wine for a special occasion and are willing to spend a little bit more. How do you know if you’re investing in the right wine, especially if you’re early in your wine exploration journey? 

We recently spoke to Alain Guillemain, founder of Wine Valet, about how to find a wine that you like. We spoke less about the intricate process of tasting wine, and more about the importance of keeping an open mind, sipping slowly, and using technology as a guide.

Use the Spittoon

The number one mistake that people make when they go wine tasting is to not spit. It’s the worst thing you can do because once you’re ingesting more than three to six wines, you’re intoxicated and your taste buds are shot. It’s hard to think straight and your baseline for how you will rate wines completely changes.  

If you’re on a wine tour, you’re better off if you can visit four or five wineries, try 20 – 30 wines, and take notes about what you like. Then, you can remember what you tried, look back at your wine history, and go back to purchase more of what you loved. 

Sip slowly, use the spittoon, and don’t give yourself palate fatigue. There is so much to experience in wine and you want to keep the most delicate aspects of your palate active.  

Keep an open mind

Red grapes
A dining table with asparagus, lemons, and orange wine on it

You should always be prepared to try again because varietals are just different types of grapes, which can express themselves differently depending on the region they’re from.

You often hear people declaring that they don’t like Shiraz or that they don’t like Riesling. It could be any type of wine. But usually, the distaste for it comes from one bad experience with a poor-quality wine. Typically, this occurs very early on in life and taints people’s tastes for years afterwards. 

It also causes people to miss out on the diversity and depth of what’s out there. So, keep an open mind and stay adventurous. If you’re at a tasting and spitting the wine anyway, it doesn’t matter if you come across something that’s not for you. You should always be prepared to try again because varietals are just different types of grapes, which can express themselves differently depending on the region they’re from.  

Then, factor in the way that the winemaker grows and blends the grapes. A new Shiraz can be an entirely different experience from the last one you tried. So, don’t narrow your options too early in your wine exploration journey. 

Don't get too comfortable

Let’s say you do find a wine that you love. Suddenly, you’re ordering the same wine, every month, for the next five years. It’s good that you’re enjoying it, but you’re also falling victim to the universal fear of being disappointed.  

If you give yourself room for a bottle of wine to not work out, you also give yourself the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised. Try to shake up your purchases a little. Every second purchase you make could be a wine that you love, and for every other moment in between, you could try something new. 

A waiter pouring a glass of white wine at a restaurant dining table

Lean on technology

There are so many applications in our lives that help us to find things that we love. I think that music hit its peak in the 90s and Spotify constantly helps me to find new music that riffs off that decade. Netflix guides us with what to watch next and Uber gets us to our favourite places with ease. We have got so much technology that can help to enrich our experiences of the world – and we’ve got it at our fingertips.  

So, why not apply that to wine? 

Wine Valet makes it easy for people to document their wine journey. Then, based on their feedback, it gives them personalised recommendations and leads them towards new wines that they will love.  

Old habits die hard, but we can use technology and algorithms to break them. 

Listen to the little tap on your shoulder

Wine Valet is a bit like a new person that you’re dating. You like them, and when you’re with them, you suddenly find yourself doing things that you wouldn’t normally do. A little tap on the shoulder is a good thing and following a trusted recommendation is one of the fastest ways to find a new wine that you like. 

Experience boutique wine with Wine Valet