To be quite honest, most wine drinkers probably will not be able to distinguish between a $20 bottle of wine and a $75 bottle. That’s because a ‘good’ bottle of wine is very much subjective, based on personal taste. The same way some people like dark vs. white vs. milk chocolate, and some people hate chocolate altogether, it’s all based on individual taste buds.
Wines are usually classified as light, bold, sweet, tart, and sometimes spicy, and it’s a matter of trial and error to find wines you can really enjoy. The key is to remember those characteristics and then look for those traits when choosing your next bottle of wine.
Sweetness is probably the first thing people will spot when drinking a bottle of wine. In Ontario, wines will be labeled with a sugar content based on grams per liter. In other places, wine is labeled as extra dry, dry, medium, medium sweet, and sweet.
Most wines are in the extra dry and dry range, between 0-15 grams of sugar/liter. Anything more than that, and you are probably looking at a dessert wine.
Body is described as light, medium, or full body, and efers to how the wine feels in your mouth. Because alcohol is more viscous than water, higher alcohol content typically will have a fuller body. Generally, red wines will have a fuller body than white wines, and warmer climates will produce fuller bodies that cooler climates.
Most wine drinkers will start out with light and sweet wines such as a rose before evolving to more complex flavors found in full bodied extra dry wines. Most sweet and light wines are also cheaper compared to full bodied wines with complex flavors, so this is a win-win for newbies in the wine world.
What is in a bottle of wine?
When you order a beer, you are getting a full glass (12 ounces or more), when you order a glass of wine at a restaurant, you barely get half a glass (5 ounces to be precise).
Infographic provided by Dealiem
The real reason wine is typically poured in 5 ounce increments has to do with alcohol content and alcohol moderation. If we can set guidelines and moderate alcohol consumption, we can promote healthier life choices.
Ontario health guidelines for instance suggest women can consume up to 2 drinks a day (10 drinks a week), and men can consume up to 3 drinks a day (15 drinks a week). Even moderate drinking can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer. The guideline suggests you should also have a few non drinking days throughout the week.
‘One drink’ therefore should be somewhat equal in alcohol content across the board, amounting to roughly 17.2 ml of ‘pure alcohol’. Which is typically:
- 1 beer (12 ounces) at 5% alcohol
- 1 glass of wine (5 ounces) at 12% alcohol
- 1 and a half ounce shot of liquor at 40% alcohol
When zero is the limit
Do not drink when:
- you are driving a vehicle or operating machinery and tools
- Taken medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol
- Have mental or physical health problems or living with alcohol dependence
- Pregnant or planning to be pregnant