If you don't know much about wine, you may be tempted to visit local wine stores and simply buy the most expensive brand there, or the most expensive you can afford. It is true that most wines that are more expensive are typically more pleasing to the palate, but price alone should not be one's deciding factor when it comes to your purchase.
Understanding a few basics about different types of wine and how it's made will help you before you shop at wine stores. You are less likely to get a bottle of something you won't enjoy if you learn a few quick facts before shopping. Shopping at wine stores is not like shopping at shoe stores where you can try out your purchase before you buy! Once you get it home, you're typically stuck with your purchase so you need to know what you're getting before you shop.
Here are some basics about shopping at wine stores so that you can make the best decision regarding your purchase.
Know Your Tastes
Do you prefer fruitier and sweeter wines or those that are more dry and woodsy? When you know your own tastes you're better suited to shop at wine stores. Understand the difference between drier wines and those that may be sweeter and even spicier. Try something that is more to your taste first and then think about expanding your horizons to try some other varieties. You may see descriptions at wine stores but chances are you'll need to investigate the varieties and brands before you start shopping.
You might also want to investigate the recommendations for certain dishes, which you may get at wine stores but which you may need to find on your own. For example, if you're serving beef you'll get a different wine than if you're serving fish, and some heavier or bolder wines are best when you drink them on their own or with something light such as cheese. Don't rely on wine stores to give you this information but look up the dish you're serving before shopping so you can narrow down your choices.
Not Always Price Alone
When shopping at wine stores, don't go by price alone. It's true that wines made from grapes grown in ideal climates are often more expensive, but most people don't have that discerning of a palate when it comes to wines. You can choose less expensive options at wine stores and find that you appreciate them just as much as something that would cost twice as much.
You may want to set a budget for yourself before shopping at wine stores so that you don't overspend, which is possible at some shops. The clerks or owners may be able to give you some recommendations within your budget but if you do some research first, you can better shop on your own. Don't rely on those who work at wine stores to make your decision for you, but do some research yourself before you go.