There is a reason wine is a $68 billion industry in the United States. Galileo Galilei put it best, at one-point remarking, “wine is sunlight, held together by water.” As the second-favorite alcoholic beverage among Americans, wine comes in a wide variety of options — to the extent, it can oftentimes be overwhelming. Whether you are looking for a wine to pair with a meal or are just wanting a drink after a long day of work, you will have no trouble narrowing down the perfect wine by following our guide below!

 

What is a good wine?

It is important to note that it depends on one’s personal preferences to determine whether a wine is a “good wine.” And since there are numerous characteristics to a wine that determine its taste, there are a vast number of options one can choose from! The following are the primary characteristics of wine that any wine-drinker should know:

  • Acidity

As a core aspect of every wine, acidity determines how rich and tart a wine taste. Bottles with higher acidity will taste more tart, while a bottle with low acidity tastes much richer.

  • Alcohol content

The higher the alcohol content of your wine, the more it will warm your throat as you drink it. The ABV of wine also varies, ranging from 5.5 percent up to 20 percent, although most clock in at about 12-13 percent.

  • Body

You have probably heard someone refer to the “body” of their wine at one point or another. This term refers to the weight of the wine as you drink it, with heavier wines having a fuller body and lighter wines having a lighter body.

  • Sweetness/dryness

When people refer to the “dryness” of a wine, they are referring to how sweet it is. A dry wine is not sweet at all, and the scale varies from dry to sweet.

  • Tannin

Last, but surely not least, are tannins. Naturally created during the winemaking process, or through the process of aging, tannins are compounds produced from the grape skins that give wines a more bitter taste.

 

What types of wine are there?

With the characteristics above in mind, there are three main types of wine: reds, whites, and rosés. Red wines are typically drier, as a result of containing more tannins, but can also be sweeter in some cases. Types of red wine include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. White wines, on the other hand, are usually lighter in body and can range from dry to sweet as well, while rosés are almost always sweet and possess a light body. Types of white wine include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio, and some types of rosé include White Zinfandel, Shiraz Rosé, and Tempranillo Rosé.

 

How do I choose?

With so many different factors to consider when choosing a wine, it is no surprise it can be a little overwhelming. By asking yourself a few questions, though, it could not be easier to choose!

  • Are you pairing it with a meal?

In general, white wines pair best with lighter dishes and white meats, like fish, while red wines pair best with heavier dishes and red meats, like beef.

  • Do you prefer grapefruit juice or apple juice?

If you prefer apple juice, you are more likely to enjoy sweeter wines while grapefruit juice lovers will usually like a drier wine.

  • Are you mixing the wine?

If you are mixing the wine to make sangria or some other wine-based cocktail, go for a less expensive wine that is more balanced.

By following the guide above, you should have no problem navigating the wine aisle and choosing the perfect wine for yourself!