Read these 4 Buying Wine Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Wines tips and hundreds of other topics.
When you buy wine, you must understand the language on the label. Never is this more true then when choosing an Italian wine, which some say are the most difficult of all wine labels to understand. Italy's official wine names are called DOC or DOCG names. An Italian wine labeled with one of these acronyms means the wine has a pedigree of sorts. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which means "controlled (or protected) place name." DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, which translates as "controlled and guaranteed place name." As a general rule of thumb, Italian wines labeled DOC or DOCG are classic wines from the most important and prestigious wine zones. Not all Italian wines will have these labels and the ones that do not are not necessarily bad. Look for IGT labeled wines, which means Indicazione Geografica Tipica. Translated, that means "typical place name." These have less of a pedigree but are usually innovative. The IGT designation gives producers more freedom of individual expression than a DOC or DOCG wine does. These are great for the adventurous wine enthusiast. Wines labeled Vino da Tavola are simply "table wine." Producers of these wines cannot put a vintage year on the wine and cannot name the grape variety that made the wine.
Ice wine grapes are harvested very late in the season, usually in December or January. What happens is the water molecules on the grape freeze, forcing the juice into tiny pockets in the berry. By pressing the grapes with the frozen water molecules inside, only the sweet juices are squeezed out around the ice. The resulting wine is juicy, concentrated and silky. Ice wine is difficult to make, which makes buying it expensive. A bottle can cost $80 to $100 or more. However, according to wine expert Leslie Sbrocco, California and Oregon producers are creating less expensive ice wines by harvesting grapes and sticking them in the freezer. Buy ice wine like this and it still tastes delicious and only costs $15 to $25.
Who says good wine has to cost a lot? There are great brands available that have been touted as excellent and can be purchased for less than $10. Many liquor stores and online stores offer wines at less than $10 a bottle. Some wine press have written that these wines can be better than wines double and triple their price. So check with your wine specialist to find out what deals are waiting for you at your favorite store.
Ever been short-handed on gifts when that unexpected occasion comes up? Next time you purchase wine, do it by the case. Buying in bulk will save you money (retail stores usually offer discounts on a case or more) and will save you time in the future when looking for a gift to give.