For lots of people, going to the wine shop can be an intimidating and anxiety-inducing experience. All you want to do is get in and out with a bottle of wine you’re going to enjoy. But in your state of panic, you’re likely to make a few mistakes that may cause you to be less than thrilled with your bottle when you finally arrive home. These are the 7 most common.
Not Talking To the Clerk
This is probably the mistake that happens the most often. Sure, there are wine shop employees out there that can be snobby and elitist, but those people are in the minority. For the most part, people working in a wine shop are excited about the wine they’re selling, which means that they’ve most likely consumed the majority of the wines on the shelf. Here is an individual who can actually point you in the direction of a wine you are likely to enjoy because they’ve tried it before. You just need to be willing to have a conversation with them.
Being Afraid To Return a Bad Bottle
We’ve all been there before: you get home with your bottle, and after popping it, you discover there’s something wrong. Most people in this situation simply pour the bottle down the drain, but don’t do that; instead take the bottle back. We know what you’re going to say – “but what if there is nothing wrong with the bottle and the wine shop makes me look stupid?” Well then that’s not a wine shop you want to be gracing with your business. Any shop that cares about the customer will take the wine back, whether something is actually wrong with it or not.
Getting Hung Up on Price
Everyone wants to walk out of the store with a cheap bottle that is also delicious, but that can be difficult unless you’re willing to talk to the people that work in the shop. If you instead are going it alone, it’s important to remember that the pivot point for quality is right around the $20 mark. If you spend $20 or more, you’re likely to walk out of the shop with a great bottle you will enjoy. Spend less than $20 and it can be harder to find well-made bottles mixed in with more mass-produced options.
Playing It Safe
If you don’t step outside your comfort zone, then how can you be awestruck by a new wine? It’s easy and safe to head to the Californian, French or Italian section of the shop, but every once in a while try a wine from an obscure region instead, like Greece. You’ll be glad you did.
Avoiding the Screw Cap
For many the screw cap still seems to signify lesser quality wine. But this could not be further from the truth. Many winemakers of high regard are bottling their wine under screw cap because it protects the wine from cork taint, meaning a bottle under screw cap is less likely to be returned to the shop and you won’t have to worry about determining whether or not your wine is corked.
Not Taking Advantage of the Case Discount
When we head to the store we’re usually only in the market for one or two bottles, but if you buy a whole case, you’ll often get a ten to fifteen percent discount on your purchase. Plus, having extra wine on hand is always beneficial. You never know when you’re going to want to host people on short notice or receive a last minute invite to a friend’s dinner party.
Buying Wine at the Last Minute
Sometimes, this situation is unavoidable. But when it is avoidable, avoid it! It’s always better to buy a bottle of wine when you have some time to actually browse the shop and talk to the employees. Doing this will prevent you from making a snap purchase that you may not be happy with later, and ensures you have time to consider all of the options being presented to you. Another way to avoid this situation is by buying that case, just as we discussed above.
By Adam Teeter, Vinepair