Woman on the kitchen counter with a glass of wine.

Your Brief Guide to Choosing Your Next Wine

The wine has gone from elegant dinner party drinking, to casual. In fact, wine has been booming in recent years, as most of the Millenial population has ascended to this inexpensive and widely different world of wine buying. There are more brands being created for the wine business than ever before, and as such, it’s hard to figure out what you want. Whether you’re bringing it as a gift or having a drink after work, here are the characteristics of the wine that are going to aid in the determination process. First, let’s start with the Fourteen Robots crew’s top three picks for wine.


  1. Game of Thrones 2015 Red Blend, Paso Robles

 Whether or not you agree with how the series is coming to a close, you have to admit: their wine sure looked pretty good. Well, it’s on display and for sale, boating one of the coolest designs we’ve ever seen for a wine bottle. Apart from the obvious book and show craze, this wine actually has distinct and eccentric flavors, all without costing you an arm and a leg.


  1. NV Thousand Islands Winery, North County Red

 We were pretty shocked at the price. For less than you’d expect, a brand name label can be sent right to your front door. There’s nothing better than a top quality red wine, especially when you’re not pouring out your wallet to get it. Especially for those who aren’t too heavy into wine, or want to bring something delicious to dinner, you find everything you need in this bottle.


  1. Black Oak California White Zinfandel

 One of the most popular picks for wine is white zin. It’s inexpensive, packs great fruity flavor, and, admittedly, can get you tipsy before long. It’s a crowd-pleaser; you’re not going to bring this to dinner, only to find a unanimous hatred of white zin. You may have just helped someone pick out their next favorite wine, you know. Don’t worry; your viewership is thanks enough.


What Do I Look For In Wine?

 When you drink any type of alcohol, even if it’s not a personal purchase requirement, you’re going to look at the alcohol volume percentage. It’s a given—we all do it. Wines can contain as little as 4.5% alcohol and are generally considered more party-like drinks than those looking to enjoy a single glass of excellent wine at home. A great wine has between 10% and 12.5% alcohol volume; it’s just the right amount to help you unwind, while not overpowering the flavors associated with your specific bottle. One of the points of wine is: you want something flavorful. “Getting the job done,” or just getting smashed, can be achieved with cheap vodka or whiskey, but that’s not the route you’re going for. You want flavor with a buzz.


Do I Shop Reds or Whites?

That all depends on your preference. Sometimes, it takes biting the bullet a little bit or getting some wine delivered to your door to pick your favorite flavor and body. If you’re looking to become prolific, we recommend giving Wine Folly a read: it’s one of the best-selling guides to wine that you’ll find, and it’s told in the tone of the everyday wine drinker. You don’t have to be posh to enjoy an icy bottle of wine.


That being said, there’s a distinct flavor difference. Whites tend to have a bit more of a sharp, bitter taste to them; you get the full essence of the alcohol. Reds are considered to be heart-healthy; some cardiologists actually recommend a glass of red wine with dinner every night. Who knew, right? Reds also contain antioxidants, which are the keys to unlocking the well of youth, and just generally good for you. Do you want a fruitier, fuller taste? Go red.


What Do You Mean There’s a Wine Subscription Service?

 There are a bunch of these floating around, but the most prominent is Winc. Grab a bottle of wine starting at $13 a whack, and choose from a boatload of different vendors. You know the beauty of Fourteen Robots recommending things, right? We’re a small group of guys telling you what we love—these are recommendations from guys who’ve actually tried it, and liked it. (Mostly our writer; he likes wine a little too much.)


See also: Quick Whiskey Buyers Guide