Buying wine is a lot less fun than drinking it, yet if you do not take your time to do so carefully, you always end up regretting it. And half the time you regret uncorking your purchase anyways. When faced with a wall full of nearly identical options, meaningless medals, misleading labels and no way to match the content to your palate, it is no surprise that you have doubts about your purchase.
Whether you are sick of your Napa Chardonnay tasting ‘meh’ for the price you paid, or worried about the health and environmental consequences of your next Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, these questions will help you make your next choice easier.
Is this wine good for my health?
This should be your first question regardless of whether you are buying a bottle as a gift, for a romantic dinner or to share with friends. Researchers have shown that drinking wine (in moderation) can bolster a number of helpful band and body functions. A review entitled “Red Wine Consumption and Cardiovascular Health” from Neapolitan researchers just last year is a great example of the ongoing medical research being done to prove what french and Mediterranean elders have long known.
So while the simple answer is yes. There are two caveats, one is the amount. Obviously a wine a day might help, but if it’s your second bottle you can safely assume it is more likely to hurt than help your health. Second however is the trickier one, which depends upon the quality of the wine, as well as various factors related to its contents and creation. A wine of poor quality is not as likely to have positive health benefits associated with the real craft. Which brings us to our second question.
Is this wine of high quality?
People will disagree, often loudly, about what makes a wine ‘good quality’, but we think that certain key factors need to be stressed. Unfortunately, they are not always the easiest for customers to know about.
First, quality wine is a well made one. Carefully crafted by artisans who know and respect the land and art. We are not fans of mass-produced juice, but unfortunately, that makes up a large share of the market; not that anyone can tell based on the labels.
Second, quality wine is one made from quality fruit, and we are not just talking grape varietal. Factors from how the vine is tended to how and when the fruit is chosen. Attentive winemakers will limit the grape output and be far more selective about which they chose to make their wine with. Bolstering the healthiness of their product in the process.
Incidentally, this is closely linked to the third question.
Was this wine responsibly made?
Grapes are not an easy crop to cultivate and require a great deal of personal care and attention or a greater quantity of pesticides. From herbicides to fungicides, the needs vary but the potential health consequences down the line remain.
Unfortunately, the regulations in many countries are vague or unclear on what constitutes ‘ecological’ farming in the winemaking industry. Unfortunately, some of the ‘bio’ options are worse. The copper sulfates used instead of small carefully applied amounts of a specific fungicide may be naturally occurring, but they are not meant to be ingested in such quantities!
This is why it is crucial to know who made the wine, but also who grew the grapes. If possible it should be the same people, showing their respect for the craft continues at every step of the process. Because it doesn’t just impact the quality of the wine, but also how good or bad, it is for our health as consumers.
Will this wine taste good (for me)?
This may be the hardest question of all to answer. Short of having tasted the exact vintage before it is impossible to perfectly predict how it will taste, for a number of reasons.
Though most of them can be simply summarized: taste is subjective: we are stating the obvious, but with so many in the wine industry claiming objective truths, it bears repeating. Each individual’s taste is different, not just in the sense of what they enjoy, but the very flavors and aromas their palate picks upon.
Thus all the factors that go into taste, varietal, harvest season, cultivation and fermentation method, bottling and corking, even the terroir itself, have an impact on the flavor profile of the wine, which in turn will be enjoyed differently by even two individuals in a couple. If this is starting to sound complicated…welcome to the wonderful world of wine!
So how are you supposed to know, before you buy a bottle if it will taste good…much less the other three questions?
The answers are out there
While it is impossible for you to answer even half these questions without buying and uncorking each bottle, others have already done so for you. Wine innovators at Palate Club are disrupting the wine market by changing the way we buy wine. Their data-driven algorithm approach combines expert sommelier’s careful analysis of each wine, with a flavor profile unique to each customer built up over each wine tasting.
They also tackle the hard work of on the ground research with the vineyards and winemakers. They are determined to bring their clients wine they don’t have to feel guilty drinking, with the best possible health benefits. Of the wines they agree to try, only 5% are approved, and a fraction of those end up on your shortlist, based on your preferences. The short answer to how to find quality wine is to find a trusted partner to deliver it.