There are 3 main types of wine; still, sparkling and fortified.
Still Wine – Most people think of still wine when they think of wine. This includes red wine, white wine and rosé.
Sparkling Wine – Sparkling wines still have carbon dioxide that is trapped during fermentation and makes the wine fizzy or bubbly. Campagne is a good example of this.
Fortified Wine – These wines are made by adding extra alcohol into the wine during the winemaking process. Fortified wines have an average ABV range from 15% to 22% ABV.
Taking it a step further, there are hundreds of different styles & varieties of wine. The sheer amount of wine can be very overwhelming sometimes, especially for beginning wine enthusiasts. The amount of choices will often lead us to choose the same bottles and types of wine over and over, because you don’t want to purchase a bottle that you end up not liking. So it’s “safer” to stick with what you know.
For beginners, we typically recommend finding something that you enjoy and exploring other types of wine that are similar to what you like. So if you enjoy a cabernet sauvignon from the Sonoma Valley region, then try to find other cabs from that same region. Once you get a feel for that specific region, then you can try cabernets from other areas like Paso Robles, Napa Valley, Washington, Australia, France, Italy or South America.
Another way to explore different wines is to look for similar tasting notes. If you typically like a dry wine with notes of dark berries, try to find wines with those same attributes. If you like white wines with a floral nose, then look for other white wines that fit that description.
We do not recommend just getting a bunch of random different wines and trying them all at once. Because tastes do change over time, and you may not like something initially but end up liking it down the road. And trying random different bottles can also be overwhelming on your palate to really hone in on what you like. Some people do this and it works for them though. So these aren’t hard and fast rules. This is just what seems to work well for most people.
Wine Denominations & Classifications
It can be argued that wine denominations date back to ancient Greece, and at several points in history people have defined regions from where quality characteristic wines come.
In France and Italy, the denominations or appellations go beyond geographical boundaries and can stipulate grape varieties as well as other vine growing and winemaking practices.