A Beginner’s Guide to Wine: Types, Regions & Serving

Wine is one of the most beloved alcoholic drinks worldwide. It’s a classic that can make even the hardest day better and turn every celebration into a day to remember. Most wine is made from grapes (however, not the same grapes you see in the grocery store). Wine grapes are smaller, have thicker skin, a sweeter taste and have seeds. There are over 1300 wine grape varieties but only 100 of these are used to make up to to 75% of the world’s vineyards.


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You have at least once gone to a wine shop and got yourself a bottle of red or white wine. But do you truly know all the types of wine, where they are made and how they’re served? Let’s see what you need to know so next time you buy or order a wine you can feel like a total pro.

The Most Popular Types of Wine

The wine market is a huge place. Did you know there are more than 100,000 labels of wine registered every year? That is an insanely large number. So, how can you know which one is the best when you visit a well-stocked wine shop? There are some classics that you should know of such as the following.

wine merchant showing wines at a wine shop

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Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a red wine of French-origin grape that was made by the wineries of Bordeaux. Today this wine grape grows around the world, even in places such as Lebanon and China.


Merlot is another red wine also made by the wineries in Bordeaux. This is another great wine that is age-worthy and has excellent taste, although sometimes it gets overshadowed by Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is known for its cherry fruit flavours and refined tannin texture.


This one is a white one, that originated in Burgundy, France. It was traditionally aged in oak barrels. The oak-aging process makes the wine one of the boldest styles of white wine and perhaps one of the world’s favourite. The grape is like a blank canvas and can produce a wide scale of styles. Chardonnay grapes are flexible, low-maintenance and easy to grow in almost any climate. They can successfully grow from France to Australia, meaning you’ll be able to find some local Chardonnay.


Now that we saw the wine names, here are the taste characteristics. The taste depends on several factors such as grape variety, region, and oak aging. Some wines have a tart taste which is called acidity. You feel warmth or a burning feeling at the back of your throat which is a sign of a higher alcohol level. Some wines have a lingering dry or bitter taste in your mouth (this is the tannin).

The region where the grapes grow will affect the flavour too. About 90% of the wine is meant to be drunk the same year it was produced. However, some wines will improve with age. An age-worthy wine has four acidities, a low alcohol level, tannin and residual sugar.

Most Popular Wine Regions

white wine on a wooden barrel

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We all know that France is the most famous country when it comes to wine production. However, Italy is also a wonderful region for European wines. France and Italy actually compete for the top wine production region of the world. Spain has some of the largest vineyard areas in the world, but the country also has much lower wine yields than France and Italy. Argentina keeps growing its wine production over the years which results with the highest growth rate of the top 5 wine producers in the world.

Australia is finding its place on the world wine region map too and is even expanding its wine marketing in Asia lately (in the past, the country was relying mainly on wine importing). The Hunter Valley vineyards in the NSW countryside are especially popular for producing high-quality wine.

Serving & Glassware

wine expert at a wine store

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When it comes to serving, there are the basics we all know. Red wine goes into a classic wine glass, while the white goes in a tall one. However, there’s a wine glass for every wine you drink. There is a special glass specific to Bordeaux, Chardonnay, Champagne, Pinot Noir and so on. There are so many choices, that you might easily get lost. Of course, the aesthetically pleasing effect of a good wine glass is undeniable, but the glass won’t change the taste of the wine. It’s the wine that matters, not the glass.

More important than the glassware is the temperature of serving. White wine and rose should be served cold 10-15 degrees Celsius. Once you buy your wine, place it in the fridge. If you want to drink it the same day, place it in the freezer for about half an hour (it will chill it ideally). Once you open the bottle, pour the wine in the glass without using ice.

Red wine can be served at 15-20 degrees Celsius. Ideally, red wine is served at room temperature. But if the room temperature is too hot, place it in the fridge for a while. If you need it fast, place it in the freezer for fifteen minutes. After opening, let it warm up on the table (no need to keep it in the fridge).