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Picking a new bottle of wine off the shelf? Here's what to look for on its label

by , 16 October 2014

If you're at the bottle store, it can be a daunting experience looking at all the wine bottles lined up on the shelves.

So how can you make a good selection? You're at the mercy of what's on the label.

Here's what you should look at…

Look at the vintage of the wine

The vintage is one of the first things you should look at when you’re looking to try a new bottle of wine. The vast majority of wines are for drinking straight away.

So look for a wine that isn’t too old, Dorothy J Gaiter and John Brecher in The Wall Street Journal explain. This is particularly the case if you’re wanting a fresh, fruity wine.

What is the alcohol content of the wine?

Many of the wines you’ll come across have too high an alcohol content. This results in an unbalanced wine.

So select a wine with an alcohol content of around 14% or less.

Where is the wine from?

The more specific this is on the label, the better. You may find wines that are more specific about where they’re from are pricier, but the wine may well be worth the extra few rands.

Where was the wine bottled?

If the wine is estate bottled, this can be a sign of a good wine. This means the winemakers also grew the grapes.

Don’t be swayed by graphics on a wine bottle

Recently, it’s been very popular to put animals and other fancy graphics on the labels of wine. But don’t let a graphic sway your choice.

A graphic doesn’t tell you anything about the wine itself. You need to judge that from the other information on the label.

So there you have it. What to look for on a label when picking a new bottle of wine off the shelf.

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Picking a new bottle of wine off the shelf? Here's what to look for on its label
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