Wine Tasting Guide for Beginners: Basic Terms & Popular Bottles You Need to Know

Various wines on a table

Wine Tasting Guide for Beginners: Basic Terms & Popular Bottles You Need to Know

The world of wine is both inviting and intimidating for beginners. There are thousands of bottles available and hundreds of terms used to describe each of them. No matter how much or how little of an expert you consider yourself to be, wine tasting events are the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons. After all, these events are where you’ll meet fellow wine enthusiasts who can hold your hand as you go further into your wine journey.

To help you prepare for your first wine tasting experience, we put together a few of the basics you need to know. Read on for a quick and practical guide on grape varieties, their characteristics, and some of the most famous bottles.

Basic Characteristics of Wine

When you attend your first wine tasting event, you’ll hear people talk about their favorite drink in a language that may sound foreign to you. Familiarize yourself with these terms so you can engage in meaningful conversations: 


The sweetness refers to the taste of a particular wine. Some beginners may think that the sweeter the wine, the more flavorful it is. While there are highly regarded bottles that are sweet, there are also those that come in different tastes. In wine terminology, “dryness” is the opposite of sweetness. If you like your wine to have a hint of sweetness, one tip is to look at a bottle’s alcohol content. Those with more alcohol tend to be sweeter even when they don’t contain a lot of sugar.


Tannin is a compound in red wines that lingers in your mouth even after a sip. It leaves behind an astringent taste, which can be unpleasant for new wine drinkers. As you familiarize yourself with more wine variants, consider looking for bottles with low tannin and work your way up. As you get used to drinking, your taste will evolve as well. After a few wine tasting trips, you may end up preferring those with higher tannin levels.


Wine’s acidity comes from grapes. It’s a crucial component to make the fruit crisp and refreshing. However, it leaves a tart taste that new wine drinkers may not enjoy. Acidity levels vary depending on how the wine was produced. As your taste develops, so will your tolerance to acidity.

Popular Wine Bottles

You’ll be offered at least six to a dozen bottles in your first wine tasting experience. From white to red, sweet and acidic—try everything you’re offered to learn more about the tastes you like best. Below is a list of some of the most famous wines in the market today:


This is a sparkling Italian wine made from a grape called “Glera.” It’s easy to identify a Prosecco—it’s white, bubbly, fruity, and sweet. It has no tannin and relatively low acidity, so it’s a great starting wine for beginners. 


This wine gets its name for the white grape used to make it. Each type of Chardonnay has a unique taste. European ones have higher acidity than American bottles. They’re mostly dry but still fruity, making it a favorite of many wine lovers.

Pinot Noir

This is a unique red wine because it’s low in tannin. Although dry, Pinot Noir has a distinct berry taste and light body. Those who are inclined to whites will appreciate this red because it’s not as sharp and acidic.

There are more things to learn about wines, their tastes, and how they’re made. Take baby steps and enjoy your first foray into this vast landscape. 

If you’re looking to taste and learn more about wines, get in touch with Urban Crush Wine today to book your wine tasting classes.

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