Before visiting a wine store keep these important tips in mind.
- Inspect the bottle first. The bottle should not feel to hot or cold. Look at the top of the capsule. It should be dry and free of wine stains. The cork should not be pushing up above the lip of the bottle. These are signs of poor storage. Push down on the cork with your thumb. It should feel firm, but with a slight give. If it easily pushes down the neck of the bottle, don't buy it!
- Buy one or two bottles of an unfamiliar wine. Don't splurge on a whole case until after you've tried it at home.
- Check on wine tastings. Many wine stores will host free wine tastings for its customers. Ask about mailings of upcoming events.
- If you are interested in a specific wine type or region, call up different wine stores and ask them how strong their selection is in that area. You don't want to be looking for Viogner, only to find one lonely, left over bottle, stored upright in the corner.
- Know your comfort zone. Don't feel as if you have to buy something or go over your price range. Sometimes you will attend a tasting and honestly not like any of the wines offered. Don't buy something you don't like out of guilt.
- Admit that you are learning or unfamiliar with a particular varietal. It's okay. Wine is a vast, complicated subject. New comers are always welcome.
With these basic tips you can visit your local wine store and enjoy the experience.