Tips for buying wine |

Tips for buying wine

summit daily news

‘Tis the season, bringing with it cheer, prosperity, good will … and parties. Whether you are hosting or attending, big or small, the opportunities to give and share the holiday spirit are many.

In the giving season there is no better gift than wine. Its essence brings with it an air of celebration and good tidings. But how to find your way through the maze of many regions, various blends, different styles, diverse vintages, particular characteristics and bottles upon bottles? Navigating the labyrinth of the wine store can be perplexing.

Here are some of the tips I follow when making my selection.

Have a budget, but don’t go cheap. It’s not about the $7.99 special, nor is it about the $150 dollar bottle of Dom Perignon. A bargain is good, but dishing out the few extra dollars will go a long way in securing a good bottle. I usually look in the range of $15 to $25 dollars, unless the occasion calls for a little more. Not only will this allow you to move back a few years in vintage, but it promises a little more quality.

Be willing to experiment. Don’t go to the store just looking for the same old faithful.

Venture out and find something different. Have an general idea about what you want, but be willing to deviate a little from it. Some of the best bottles that I have found have been by chance.

Go for smaller, instead of the large producers. Forget Mondavi, Beringer or Kendall Jackson, although sufficient, going with a smaller producer gives the wine an element of surprise. Larger may be cheaper because they are sold through distributors in mass, but the quality is lost. Smaller is limited, harder to find and yes a little more expensive, but you will know where that money went when you taste it.

When you buy from a large producer you know what you’re getting, but maybe this year adventure out a little bit and experience something you might have not had before. You might just find a new favorite.

Consider the occasion. Ask yourself, what are you getting this for?

Buying bottles for a party is different than buying for a small dinner with friends. For a large party get something nice, but reasonable. Maybe get a case, because you usually get a discount. For a smaller party go for a bottle with a little more panache. A great choice can keep the conversation going all night.

Where to shop? Don’t buy your wine at the grocery store. This county has many places to find a great and reasonable bottle. Each town in fact has one place where I would go when shopping for that perfect bottle. With a little research and savvy you can find your own wine wonderland.

This year take the initiative and supply the party. Wine makes everything better, in any form and by any name. Now I have only given guidelines, but make your own. It just might make you the hit of the party.

Until next time, Cent’Anni.

Seth T. Moore has spent many years in the food service business, working in some of the finest restaurants with the best wine lists in the country. He studied under some of the best in the business and has been trained in all aspects of the subject. As a private collector and connoisseur he offers his opinions.

If you have any questions, comments or just want to talk about wine, Seth T. Moore can be contracted at (970) 668-4616 or

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