Learning about wine with blind tasting

New to the world of wines

Reading about wine and wine regions is one thing but to really understand the wine and distinguishing from good and bad wines or good from excellent wines is different ball game.

Learning about wines for newbies might appear to be a daunting task in the beginning.  It is easy to get influenced by marketing tactics by some of the big players of the industry. Another challenge is that their are numerous grape varieties in both red and white wine and some such as Gewurztraminer which are even hard to pronounce. Then comes wines from different regions(in Australia alone there are 64 wine regions). Moreover, each variety has its own characteristics such as aromas and flavours, and food pairing.

Blind tasting

So, what is the best way to learn about wines? Doing wine tasting at cellar doors,attending wine events are some of the common ways about learning about wines. Yet another way is organizing your own blind wine tasting party helps to decide which wine makes your taste buds ring

Calling your friends over for blind tasting can make the learning so much more fun.While choosing wines for the party make sure for each party the wines are different from each other in terms of variety and region. For eg-

  1. Experiment with different grape varieties such as Reds –  Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Pinot Noir and white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio etc.
  2. For one party you can choose wines of same variety such as Shiraz but different brand names such as Penfolds, McWilliams, Emmetts Crossing etc.
  3. Another way is to choose wines of same variety but from different wine regions such as Barossa Valley Shiraz, Hunter Valley Shiraz, Margaret River Shiraz.
  4. Choosing wines from popular wine critics or those which have won any award/medal recently at wine competition and then blind tasting them is yet another way to keep yourself up to date with emerging wines.Wine-Quote---Fan-the-sinking-flame-of-hilarity

Wine storage and factors affecting it

Advantage of Wine Storage

Not all wines are made for storing. Most of the wines are ready to drink. Proper wine storage allows wine to age well and develop favourable aromas and flavours.


Ways in which wine can be stored

Wines can be stored in wine cellars, wine caves or through wine refrigerators and racks.These all provide optimum conditions for wine storage.

  • Wine cellar – Helps in providing constant temperature and constant humidity conditions
  • Wine caves – Helps in providing high humidity and cool temperatures for wine storage
  • Wine refrigerators and racks – A much cheaper alternative, useful for long time ageing

Does drinking wine help in reducing weight?

Wine and weight Loss

When we drink wine, the body releases enzymes to digest the alcohol. The process of breaking down of alcohol uses energy of the body but which is not significant enough to reduce weight. However, wine can be used as an alternative to high sugary drinks.


One can also calculate the amount of calories intake by using this simple formula. Suppose, you are drinking 5 oz of red wine with 15% alcohol level, then the amount of calories is equal to 5x15x1.6(=120 calories)

So, the question arises which type of wine should all weight watchers prefer? White wines tend to have lower amount of calories compared to red wines, it is naturally a better choice.On the other hand, sessert wines, that are sweet and high in calories should be avoided at all cost.





Wine blending explained!

Mixing of two wine grape varieties together to form a new wine is what makes a wine blend.

The question arises why to blend wine? There can be plenty of reasons – enhancing aromas, giving flavours, adjust sweetness, increase or decrease the tannin levels, or vary the alcohol content in the wine.

The difference between single varietal wines(made up of single grape variety) and blends is that single varietal wines tend to be more specific in flavours whereas the blends tend to be more rounded and complex.

Blending can differ in accordance to time it is done –

  • In Field blending, the grapes varieties that need to be blended are grown, harvested, fermented as well as bottled together.
  • Another type of blending is to co-ferment the grapes together.
  • There is a third kind of blending which is performed once the fermentation process is completed.

World Famous Blends

One of the most famous blends is from Bordeaux, France. The base grape variety used in this blend is Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot along with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (comparatively less in percentage)

GSM is another popular blend. Originated in the south of France. It comprises of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre as the major grape varieties.

It will be a little surprising to know that Champagne is also a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Pinot Noir gives the structure whereas the Pinot Meunier the intense bouquet to the wine.

Australian Wine Blends

Maurice O’Shea pioneered wine blending in Australia with his Shiraz and Pinot Noir blends. Another important blend is Cabernet Sauvignon – Shiraz blend made popular by Max Schubert. Max was also responsible for producing two iconic wines of Australia – the Penfolds Grange and Penfolds Bin 389 inspiring some of the very popular wineries such as Hardys, Jacobs Creek, and Yalumba to come up with their own blends.

Introduction of GSM led to wineries experimenting with different grape varieties and began a wave of new blends such as Tempranillo with Touriga Nacional in McLaren Vale region, Sangiovese with Nebbiolo, Cabernet, and Shiraz in King Valley.




Questions You Must Ask For Evaluating a Wine Deal

1. What is the offer?
Basically, it means taking stock of the type of offer. Often, getting some wines for free with the others is something which is the most preferred wine deal type. However, there could be enticing flat discounts on some of your favorite wines. And, then, there is always a likelihood of finding wines coming with some other product which might be of use to you or to your near and dear ones.
You do need to study the offer and understand what it has to offer to you.

2. Is the offer to your liking?

Does it meet your requirements? Does it leave you any better with money in pocket or adds value to the purchase?
If you been looking for something or had something at back of mind to buy, does any of the wine deal available online offer you that product? Does any of the wine at discounted price match your expectation?

3. Is there anything hidden in the offer which is not visible to customer or which has not been communicated?
Normally, you would not expect the online wine store to play mischief and hide any unusual charge that might be entailed. However, this might not be the case all the time. To be doubly sure, just take notice of any untoward expense which might be hidden during the course of purchase. This often happens when the offer is too good to be true. Making a few queries with the customer service or through emails can guarantee against these type of charges.

4. And finally, have you checked for other wine deals with competitors?
Just make this check one last time before going with the deal to ensure that they are not offering anything better.

What people look for in an online wine store?

Wines can be sold online in Australia. Since the government allows sale and purchase of wine online in Australia, many e-commerce companies have set up their online liquor retail shops which deliver wines to the buyers right at the place where they want. Due to a large number of players in this domain, it is important that these sites cater to the exact needs and wants of the buyers of wines. While there could be a specific business model on which the online wine store might be working, nevertheless it is pertinent that target market choices are kept in mind.

Since the online store is the retail shop, it has to be professionally designed. Look and feel shall be inviting to explore. And, this exploration shall lead to conversions. For making customer pay, the navigation has to be smooth, without any distortions and shall be completed in the minimal possible steps. The site shall load fast and shall open beautifully in mobile as well (meaning that it shall be responsive). The customers would either want a specific wine of their choice or they might not have anything specific in mind when they come. The pictures and images used on the site, especially about the wines shall be extremely clear so as to enable visitors form an opinion about these. These shall not be hazy. All efforts shall be done to procure the best possible images for the wine product. These shall be professionally shot and then suitably cleaned to bring out the best quality.

The next important thing people look for is the price of the wine. Even if you have a much better design and look and feel, you will fail to sell if the prices are not low. Therefore, to convert, the store must keep the prices of the wines competitive. This is not easy. Most of the wine stores having online presence sell the wines of other wineries. How much of price can be reduced depends on whether these are buying out wines from wholesalers or wineries or working on drop-ship model.

Online wine buyers also look whether making payments online on the store is okay to do or not. Generally, HTTPS certification is required. At the same time, the payment gateway channels of highly reputed firms further enhances confidence level of customers to make a purchase.

In order to ensure that they get the deliveries timely and in safe manner, they do check the timelines for the same. They also take into account the returns and refunds policies of the store in order to know whether returns will be accepted or not? If yes, then in what time period this return must be effected? Also, how does the company make refunds payment and whether there will be any charged for the same.

Deals and offers which are currently being provided are surely looked for so that they can get to save money or grab and enticing deal.

These are some essential points which need to be covered by an online wines store for its successful operations.