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Wine Shopping Tips

Practical Tips for Choosing Wine in a Wine Shop

Buying wine can be an intimidating experience for many people, although I happen to love it. For me it is a big treasure hunt. For many others it is a stressful chore with mixed results.

Let's set the scene. You walk into a retail wine shop looking for a bottle of wine. What do you see? There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of wine choices staring you in the face. What do you do? Many people panic. Some ask for the wine manager. If he is not around, you may get the weekend clerk who knows more about beer than wine. While many retailers list the professional scores on placards or in their advertising, usually they show only the highest score or the score from the last vintage. This limited information is often not very helpful. You need the whole story. And, that is where Ken's Wine Guide can really help.

Our consensus scoring system is designed to help you find a highly rated wine that you will really enjoy. We average the scores of all the major professional wine reviewing magazines. If you get scores of 88, 89, & 90 from three major reviewers, it is a safe bet that the wine is Very Good or better, and would be a good investment for your hard earned money. Ken's Wine Guide does all the research for you. The feedback we get indicates that the system really works. In all the years our list was distributed in e-mail form, we never had anyone ask to be deleted from the list. And, it was extremely rare for us to de-list a wine after we posted it.

But, back to the store.

Prepare in advance:
1. Print the sections of Ken's Wine Guide that interest you. For example, print only the Merlot section if those are the wines you want. If you are uncertain, bring the whole list.

2. Cross-check the wines on the shelf with the Ken's Wine Guide list. Correct vintages and specific vineyards are very important.

3. No matches? Pick another grape or variety (another good reason to bring the entire list). Resist the temptation to choose a wine that is not on Ken's list - unless you are in the mood to take a gamble.

4. More than one match? Look at price. Go for value in a tie.

5. Things to consider:

  • Price: You know your range. Find wines that fit your budget. You may not enjoy a wine that costs more than you can afford.

  • What will you eat?: Pair your wine with the food you are planning to serve. This is more of an art than a science

  • Your Guests: Do you know what they like? If so, add their favorite wines to your short list.

I hope you find this system helpful and practical. It has always worked for me. Wine is meant to be enjoyed. So follow our tips and enjoy your wine selections and the overall wine experience.

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What is "room temperature" when used to describe wine? It means a typical cellar temperature of 58¬?F (14¬?C). This is the ideal temperature for storing wine.

Source: All About Wine Calendar - Richard Nidel

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