Inspiring Interviews

Expert Tips for Wine Picks: How to Find a Bottle You Love

With so many different options available, finding a bottle of wine you love can be a challenge. We asked Emily Kovach, a partner at the Lunar Inn and Tiny’s Bottle Shop in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia for some of her best tips for picking out a wine you love and to share her recommendations for the best wines for beginners.
By Printfresh Staff
November 2021
Expert Tips for Wine Picks: How to Find a Bottle You Love
Expert Tips for Wine Picks: How to Find a Bottle You Love

If you’re not an experienced wine drinker or don’t know too much about it, walking into a bottle shop or one of the state-run stores like we have in Pennsylvania can be really intimidating. But, it doesn’t have to be! With Emily’s expert guidance you’ll feel more confident picking out new bottles to try.

PF:

Let’s get right into it. How would someone start to find a bottle (or type) of wine they like if they’re newer to drinking wine?

EK:

The best way to find a wine you love is to start trying wine! So that you’re not just staring at the bottles on the shelf trying to figure out what you might enjoy, I’ve put together a five-step process you can follow (that involves enlisting the help of a pro).

1. Figure out what flavors and experiences you enjoy 

I’m not just talking about wine flavors. Do you like fruity, woody, gritty, or familiar flavors? Do you crave dark, rich, black coffee or do you prefer the floral flavor of green tea? If you’re a beer or cider drinker, do you like a funky sour ale or wild fermented cider? When it comes to experiences, are you the kind of person who likes to play it safe, or are you looking for more of an adventure? This information will help a wine pro guide you in the right direction. They might not get it perfect on the right try but this will give you a place to start from. 

2. Visit a local bottle shop

The staff at a local bottle shop will be able to give you a more personalized recommendation than someone who works at a state-run store in Pennsylvania or the Costco in New Jersey. People who choose to work at small specialty shops will be passionate about wine and enjoy teaching you about the different bottles they are offering.

3. Keep an inventory of the things you try 

You can only discover what you like by trying more things, but it can be hard to remember what you enjoyed (or didn’t). To help you keep track, take pictures of wine labels with your phone and/or keep your notes in a notebook. You can keep it as simple as a thumbs up or thumbs down or write about your impression of the wine. You might note things like: really tasty, good with fish, too dry, too spicy, or not rich enough. 

4. Do your research after you have found a bottle you like

Once you have found a bottle you enjoy, do a little research. You can learn about the winery that made it and the varietal of grapes that were used. This information is not just for those of us in the industry. If you find there is a varietal or style that you are enjoying - research to see what else is available or ask a bottle shop for something similar.  

5. Expand where you shop and dine to try new things 

Many stores and wineries have sampling or tasting events (some of which are even free) so that you can learn more about the wines and try new things. By trying a new wine, or new food and wine pairings you might find something you like unexpectedly. This can also help you find patterns for what you enjoy. So whether you find you love a glass of prosecco with oysters at happy hour or you enjoy a nice glass of Tempranillo in the cooler months, you are learning more about what you like and when.

Expert Tips for Wine Picks: How to Find a Bottle You Love
Expert Tips for Wine Picks: How to Find a Bottle You Love
PF:

Is there a particular bottle or varietal of wine you would recommend that someone try first?

EK:

While these aren’t universal, if someone was dropped into a liquor store there are a few things I’d recommend someone try to pick up:

A dry rose from Austria or Germany: Northern climates like those found in parts of France, Germany, Austria produce fun zippy fresh roses that are easy to drink.
• Gamay wine like Beaujolais Nouveau: This wine is not aged - it’s held in stainless steel tanks and doesn’t have wood characteristics like those that spend time in a barrel.  You can even chill it slightly if you like. It’s a great wine for fall and makes a good bottle to open at a party. 
• A middle-shelf prosecco: You want to look for something in the $20 range. Prosecco is a great pour for happy hour and it even tastes delicious with salty foods like potato chips. Along these lines, you also might like to start with a French Crémant

PF:

Since you’re a wine professional, we have to ask, does a higher price mean better wine? Can someone on a budget still drink good wine?

EK:

Not necessarily! Extremely cheap wine is generally highly processed and this can really turn people off from drinking wine. But, there are many bottles at very reasonable price points that are quite good. 

A bottle of wine holds about 4 glasses so a $20 bottle of wine that you bring home means you’re spending $5 per glass. So, don’t be afraid to treat yourself at home. 

In some parts of the world where wine is made, land can be very expensive.  This means that places in the US like California, Oregon, New York, and even parts of Pennsylvania and old-world wine-producing areas like parts of France, Italy, Austria, and Germany produce some pricier bottles. I would personally be more inclined to buy a $10 bottle of wine from Australia or Chile over one from France as it has a higher likelihood of being something I will enjoy. 

When it comes to the quality and price of wine, there are no hard and fast rules. Some $20 bottles are amazing, and some $100 wines may not be your taste or preference. 

Expert Tips for Wine Picks: How to Find a Bottle You Love
Expert Tips for Wine Picks: How to Find a Bottle You Love
PF:

Thank you for all the amazing information. Since we are a pajama company we have to ask you a few questions about your pajamas and sleep habits.

EK:

PJs: Matching sets or mix and match?
Aspirationally matching is what’s up! I love a matching set because it makes me feel my best. 

Slippers: Yes or No?  
YES, hell yes! 

What’s the one part of your nighttime routine you never skip?
I never skip skin my care routine and I never skip flossing and brushing (never had a cavity)!

What’s always on your bedside table?
Water, a book, a picture of me and my daughter, and a random bobby pin.

Night owl or Early riser?
By nature, I’m a  morning person, but by trade and working I am both.  

What’s your favorite breakfast in bed? 
A giant mug of coffee and ricotta pancakes with a light fruit topping.

While it can be a lot of fun to go out for dinner or happy hour to try new wines, it can also be just as fun to try something new at home in your favorite Printfresh pajamas. Consider a fruity red to go with the purple in Papaya Paradise or a sparkling white with Unicorn’s Garden or Bagheera

Looking for the perfect wine to drink in your pajamas? Check out Tiny’s Bottle Shop’s selection of wine on their website. Let us know in the comments what wines you are digging!

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PF MAG is dedicated to thoughtful, not-so-simple living. Founded by Amy Voloshin as a stationery and sleepwear brand, Printfresh has grown into far more than that. Our articles provide discerning perspectives on all things lifestyle, including fashion, wellness, design, travel and home decor, as well as interviews with some of the people who inspire us most.

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