As a first-time winemaker, you want to set yourself up for success from the start. The grapes in the following table give you a great shot at overcoming beginner’s jitters over style, taste, and technique:

Reds Whites:
Zinfandel: The All-American red (originally from Croatia), full of fruit and spice, good in every style from rosé to blockbuster. Sauvignon Blanc: The best odds of making white wine with real character the first time out.
Merlot: Always drinkable; most of the charms of Cabernet Sauvignon, with a bigger margin of error on your first try. Chardonnay: Available everywhere, popular as they come, and perfectly delightful in a minimal, home style.
Syrah: Full of fruit, easy to work with, a great blender. Riesling: The queen of aromatic whites, versatile with food, delicious dry, off-dry, and sticky-sweet.