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tips for buying your first bottle of wine

A man's first time buying wine can be a daunting task. With so many different types of wine available, how do you know which one is the right choice for you? In this blog post, we will provide you with some tips to help make the process a little easier. We'll discuss everything from what to look for when selecting a bottle of wine to how to pair it with food. So whether you're a beginner or just looking for some additional advice, read on for our top tips!

How Much Should You Plan To Spend On A Bottle Of Wine?

When it comes to purchasing wine, you'll often get what you pay for. So, if you're looking for a high-quality bottle of wine, you should be prepared to spend at least $20. However, there are still some great options available in the $15 range. Of course, if you're on a budget, there are also wines that can be found for as little as $11 or $12. The important thing is to find a balance between quality and price that works for you.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for but if you don't mind a $2 bottle of Charles Shaw "2 Buck Chuck" wine then go knock yourself out and enjoy!

One secret that most men who are new to buying wine don't always understand though is that price isn't always an indicator of taste. For instance, the best deal out there when it comes to buying wine are California Red Blends. These are often a mixture of good to excellent vineyards that get blended together because they are essentially left-over grapes that remained after a more expensive branded wine was made.

Indeed, you can find a $10-20 California Red Blend that is very enjoyable to drink and will satisfy any need you might have to buy a bottle for date night or a hostess gift when attending a dinner party.

Online Shopping Or In Store:

If you're new to buying wine, it can be confusing to know whether you should buy your wine online or in a brick-and-mortar store. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision:

  1. Consider your budget. Wine prices can vary widely, so it's important to set a budget before you start shopping.
  2. Decide what type of wine you're interested in. If you know you want a red wine, for example, that will narrow down your options and make it easier to find a good deal.
  3. Do some research ahead of time. Once you've decided on a type of wine and a budget, take some time to read up on the different wines in that category. This will help you understand the flavor profiles and find one that sounds appealing to you.
  4. Compare prices online and in store. Once you've found a few wines you're interested in, compare the prices at different retailers to see where you can get the best deal.

Understanding Different Wine Varietals:

There are many different varietals of wine but just like Coke, Pepsi, and RC are all "Cola", not all wine varietals are the same. This can make it overwhelming to try and pick the right one. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a wine:

The type of grape: there are many different types of grapes used to make wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Each grape has its own unique flavor profile.

The region where the grapes were grown: the climate and soil in different regions can impact the flavor of the grapes. For example, wines from France's Bordeaux region are typically bolder than those from the Burgundy region.

How the wine was made: the winemaking process can also impact the final flavor of the wine. For example, wines that have been aged in oak barrels tend to have a richer flavor than those that have not. 

Vintage: from year to year things will change significantly when it comes to fine wines. As a first time wine buyer you aren't expected to know if 2018 was better than 2019 in Sonoma County. However, you can look at the age of the wine and get an estimate for how it will taste relative to a younger bottle. This is mostly a factor when it comes to premium red wines above $30 per bottle but you will notice a distinct difference between a 3 year old Napa Cab and a 10 year old one assuming it is of sufficient quality to benefit from aging.

Don't worry though, no winemaker will release wines that aren't ready to drink!

Many collectors hold on to bottles in their cellars for 5, 10, even 20 years since that $50 bottle can turn into one valued at $100 or more by simply letting it rest vs buying an older bottle from a wine retailer.

Keep these factors in mind when choosing a wine, and you'll be sure to find one that you'll love!

How To Pick The Right Wine For The Right Occasion:

It can be tough to know what wine to buy, especially if you're a young man shopping for your first bottle. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect wine for any occasion:

For a casual dinner party:

If you're having friends over for a casual dinner party, you'll want to choose a wine that is versatile and will pair well with a variety of foods. A good option would be a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais Nouveau for red wines and a California Chardonnay for white wine options.

For a formal dinner party:

If you're hosting a more formal dinner party, you'll want to choose a wine that is impressive and will stand up to richer foods. Good options include Bordeaux wines or a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. While these aren't always going to be the best wines, both appellations have a level of distinction that they have earned over decades ... or centuries of excellence in the case of Bordeaux wines.

For a romantic evening:

For a romantic evening, you'll want to choose a wine that is smooth and elegant. You might want to consider what food and activities are planned during the dinner and afterwards. Wines with a high level of acid or that are too tannic may leave an unpleasant feeling if you drink too much. A safe choice would be a lightly oaked California Chardonnay or  A good choice would be an Italian Barbera. Despite the barbera containing a relatively high level of acidity, it goes great with a wide variety of meats and pasta dishes and is easy to drink because of it's low levels of tannins.

Wine Terminology That You Need To Know:

One of the most confusing parts about wine is that there's a whole vocabulary that you need to learn - or at least new wine drinkers feel they do since things can be confusing. In reality, you can enjoy wine from the perspective of simply "I like reds" and that's fine! However, as you dive deeper, it becomes advantageous to understand the basics of how to describe what you like. This will not only allow you to explore additional wines that you might like, but it will also provide an extra layer of confidence when it comes to ordering a bottle on a date night dinner or at a business lunch.


The body of a wine is how heavy or light it feels in your mouth. This is usually determined by the alcohol content and the amount of sugar in the wine. Wines with a higher alcohol content will feel "fuller" or " heavier" while wines with less alcohol will feel "lighter". Wines with more sugar will also feel "fuller" while wines with less sugar will feel "lighter".


Tannin is a naturally occurring substance found in grape skins, seeds, and stems. It's what gives red wines their astringent, dry taste and can make white wines taste more like green apples. Tannin is also responsible for the stained teeth look you sometimes get after drinking red wine.


Acidity is another naturally occurring substance found in all grapes. It's what makes your mouth water when you drink wine and contributes to the overall freshness of the wine. Wines with high acidity will taste tart and tangy, while low acidity wines will taste smooth and mellow.


Oak is a type of wood that is often used to age wine. Wine that has been aged in oak barrels will take on some of the flavors of the barrel, such as vanilla, spice, or toastiness. Oak can also add structure and tannin to a wine.

Selecting The Perfect Bottle Of Wine

Now that you know some basic wine terminology, here are a few tips to help you select the perfect bottle of wine:

Read the label: The label on a bottle of wine can tell you a lot about what's inside. Look for clues about where the grapes were grown, how the wine was made, and how long it was aged. These things can all affect the flavor of the wine.

Consider your food: What kind of food are you going to be eating? Pairing your wine with complementary flavors can make for a much more enjoyable meal.

Don't be afraid to ask for help: If you're unsure about what kind of wine to choose, don't be afraid to ask your local wine shop owner or waiter for recommendations. They should be able to help you find something that suits your taste buds perfectly!

When it comes to buying wine, there are a lot of things to consider. But don't worry, we're here to help! In this blog post, we have provided you with some tips on how to select the perfect bottle of wine for your needs. We've also talked about how much you should expect to spend and what to look for when choosing a wine. So whether you're a beginner or just looking for some additional advice, be sure to read our post in its entirety. And remember, price isn't always an indicator of taste - so don't be afraid to experiment!

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.