Five tips for picking the perfect wine

  • 04/09/2018

There used to be limited choices for wine - white, red or rosé - but now we are awash with choice, leaving it down to that little "made in New Zealand" or "Winemaker of the Year" stickers to tell us what's good. But those stickers are doing more harm than good.

Head of marketing at University of Auckland Dr Bobo Lang says the stickers help busy shoppers make choices quickly.

Nearly every bottle has a sticker these days, and while some are award-winning, the impersonators are more about marketing than good wine.

"For example, at a huge wine show in the UK called Decanter there was 16,000 wines entered, and of these 16,000 wines entered, 70 percent won awards," says Dr Lang.

Owner of The Grove and wine guru Michael Dearth says there are five tips to buying the right wine.

"Ignore the award stickers," he says. "The little guys in this industry are just as good as these big companies that can afford to fly people around for these wine judging contests. Go for the little guys."

The second tip, "Don't buy sauvignon blanc or pinot noir."

These wines have put New Zealand on the map, but he says there is much more out there. 

Thirdly, spending $3 makes all the difference.

"If you're going to spend $10 just spend $13."

He also recommends staying away from stupid names because it's just a gag.

And finally, "Go off the list; ask the restaurant you're at for wine off-list. A lot of times at a restaurant they will have wines from the wine list left that they've kept from old wine lists. Have courage to say, 'Do you have anything off-list that's tasty?' because they will be trying to move stock."

In the end, the best recommendations come from independent experts who have tried the wine before you go to buy it - because most places frown on you popping open a bottle right there in the store.