One of the comments I hear most, is that it can be daunting going into your nearest Liquor Store or Wine Boutique and buying a bottle of wine. So I have decided to dedicate this week’s blog on helping you buy wine. Here are some tips you may find helpful.
1. First of all – get to know your staff at your favorite Liquor Store, and find out who the Retail Product Specialist. One of the best Liquor Stores here in the Halifax area is the NSLC Store on Larry Uteck Boulevard. It has a great selection, but it’s the staff that make the store. Manager Rick Martell and Retail Product Specialist Sue Slaunwhite are some of the best in the business. It’s not daunting when the staff can greet you by name, and after a couple of visits, have an idea of what you like. Even if you don’t know them, ask. It’s what they do for a living, and in most cases love to help you.
2. When buying for someone else, find out if they are red or white wine drinkers, and even if you know nothing about wine, ask the Retail Product Specialist in your local store. They have been trained in wine and have sampled a lot of the product on the shelves. They also have great knowledge in food pairing.
3. Have a couple of ‘Go-To’ Favorite wines. This will take any pressure off when you are in a Restaurant and are expected to order the wine. Even if the Restaurant does not carry any of your ‘Go-to’ favorites, chances are they will have something from the same Country, featuring the same grape. If you like a big bold Shiraz from Australia, most restaurants will carry a Shiraz from Australia. The same applies to your favorite white wines.
4. Be Adventurous! For a long time I was in a ‘wine rut’. I would buy the same wines over and over. Then I moved. And the province I was living in didn’t carry my old favorites. It forced me to discover new wines. And the greatest part of that is I discovered a whole new world of wine. I got to know Sue at my local NSLC who has similar tastes to mine, and she started giving me recommendations. Now, I never go more than a week without discovering a new wine.
5. Try before you buy! Most Liquor stores across Canada now offer taste stations, and to me this is the greatest idea since sliced bread. They offer selections in both red and white wine, and in varying price ranges. I have found some spectacular wines this way.
Thanks for reading, and till next week, Cheers.