Wine, Beer & Spirits

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Taste-Testing a Bottle of Wine when Dining Out

The process of tasting wine from a bottle that you've ordered in a restaurant can be intimidating, but this quick guide to the wine-tasting ritual makes it easy. Evaluating wine involves a bit of ceremony [more…]

Finding the Right Red Wine

Not sure how to choose a red wine to complement your meal? If you’re new to red wine or don't have time to browse at the wine shop, this reliable chart can help. [more…]

Wine All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Both red wine and white wine come in myriad styles, from delicate to robust. They taste best when paired with the right foods. Fortunately, you can find a red or a white wine to go with any meal you might [more…]

Top Values of French Wines

Looking to get the most for your money when it comes to French wine? Here are some of France’s top wine values, including the types of wine and whether they’re red or white: [more…]

Words You Find on French Wine Labels

A French wine label contains a lot of information, but you can crack the code and understand French wine once you know how to read the label. Here are some words you may find and what they mean: [more…]

Grapes Used in French Wine

The variety of grapes (red or white) used for making French wines is usually named for the region in France where it’s grown. Here are some French wine types and the main grape used for making it: [more…]

How to Pronounce French Wine Names

Don’t let the pronunciation of a French wine get your tongue in a knot. Pronouncing the names of French wines just takes a little practicing, which you can do with the following table. [more…]

French Wine For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Choosing a French wine means understanding how to read and pronounce French wine names and words you find on the label, the variety of grape specific to certain French wines, and getting the best value [more…]

How Wine is Made

Wine is essentially liquid, fermented fruit. After grapes are gathered from a vineyard's grapevines and crushed, yeasts(tiny one-celled organisms that exist naturally in vineyards) come into contact with [more…]

Why Color Matters with Wine

It’s okay to like some wine colors more than others. You may prefer white, red, or rosé (blush) wines. The winemaking process and the color of the grape determine whether a wine will be white, red, or [more…]

Understanding How Wines are Named

Most of the wine names that you find in your wine shop or on restaurant wine lists are named in one of two basic ways: [more…]

How to Pronounce Wine Names

Nothing will set a wine snob on your case more quickly than a mispronounced name of a famous wine or wine region. The pronunciations of dozens of wines and wine regions appear in the table below, for easy [more…]

How to Discern Wine Quality

Wine producers constantly brag about the quality ratings that their wines receive from critics, because a high wine rating — implying high quality — translates into increased sales for a wine. But quality [more…]

Understanding How Grapes Used in Wine Vary

Many attributes distinguish each grape variety from the next. The attributes of grape varieties fall into two categories: personality traits and performance factors. [more…]

The Most Popular White Grape Varieties

Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio are the most important and popular white grape varieties today. The wines made from these grapes can be varietal wines, or place-name [more…]

The Most Popular Red Grape Varieties

The most popular red grape varieties today are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, and Zinfandel. You’ll encounter these grapes in varietal wines and place-name wines. These red grape [more…]

Shopping for Wine in Supermarkets

Supermarkets and discount warehouses make wine accessible to everyone. When you shop for wine in supermarkets or discount stores, the mystique surrounding the wine selection process evaporates: Who can [more…]

Shopping for Wine in Specialty Shops

Wine specialty shops are small- to medium-sized stores that sell wine and liquor and, sometimes, wine books, corkscrews, wine glasses, and maybe a few specialty foods. The foods sold in wine shops tend [more…]

How to Choose a Wine Merchant

Sizing up a wine merchant is similar to sizing up any other specialty retailer. The main criteria for picking a wine shop are fair prices, a wide selection, staff expertise, [more…]

Strategies for Wine Shopping

Most wine lovers discover (at least eventually) that wine shopping can be fun. You can assure yourself of more good wine-buying experiences than bad ones by coming to terms with your knowledge — or lack [more…]

Understanding American Wine Labels

Many American wine bottles have two labels. The front label names the wine and grabs your eye as you walk past it. The back label gives you a little more information, ranging from food pairings to other [more…]

Looking at California's Wine Regions

Wine grapes flourish throughout much of California — in wine regions as far north as Mendocino County in the upper third of California, as far west as the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and as far east as [more…]

How to Decipher Labels on European Wines

Wines produced or sold in the European Union (EU) must include some of the same information found on American wine labels. But the EU regulations require additional label items for wines produced in its [more…]

Optional Lingo Often Used on Wine Labels

In addition to the mandatory information included on wine labels (as required by government authorities), all sorts of other words can appear on them. This wine label lingo can be meaningless phrases intended [more…]

The Role of Sulfites in Wine

Sulfur dioxide, a compound formed from sulfur and oxygen, exists naturally in wine as a result of the fermentation process. Winemakers add sulfur dioxide [more…]

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