What To Look For In A Good Bottle Of Vino If You’re Used To Scouring The Goon Aisle

Contributor: Marni Dixit

Picture this: it’s Friday night, you’ve been making decisions all bloody week, and now you’re faced with the toughest one yet – which bottle of wine, out of the hundreds in front of you, is the right one?

We’ve all been there, and unless you’ve got a helpful shop assistant to tell you which one to grab, you’re basically on your own and left judging the wines by their labels – don’t lie, it’s not right, but we all do it.

So, if you’re no wine connoisseur and need a bottle of wine without the whine, here are the things you need to look for in a good bottle of vino:

Scour smaller names

foo fighters wine

There are bound to be a few huge brands that you see every time you visit the bottle-o, and while they are easy to recognise and are often very well advertised – they could taste just as bland as a lesser-known bottle.

You want something to excite your tastebuds, not put them to sleep! And those large winemakers mass produce their fruit with very little regard for what it actually tastes like.

So, choose from a smaller, independent winery that creates memorable wine and actually tastes like they care. Love is the secret ingredient here.

Don’t buy the second-cheapest bottle on the menu

post malone wine

We’ve all been there – you’re at a restaurant and don’t want to look like a cheapskate, but also don’t want to spend too much on the wine. So, you choose the second-cheapest bottle available. But this could be a trap! Restaurants know this is how our minds work, and that bottle of wine is likely the one with the highest markup, and the actual price of the bottle is much lower.

Having said this, the most expensive bottles will probably taste just as good as the mid-range stuff. Our advice? Stick to the mid-range wines if you can.

Try something different

ren and stimpy wine

Instantly recognisable wines like a New Zealand Pinot Noir or an Aussie Shiraz are very easy to sell on a restaurant wine list and, as a result, will likely have a decent markup. But those wines that you’ve never heard of or can’t even pronounce are there for a reason, and they could be your new fave.

When in doubt, stick to a rosé

Rose Hilary Duff

A crisp, dry rosé goes with just about everything and work incredibly well with cheese plates! Plus, you can even go for a sparkling variety if you want to be fancy.

Use Vivino

wine pinot grigio
Let Vivino be your guide by snapping a pic of any wine label to instantly narrow things down to get you the best Australian Shiraz between $20 and $30 (if Shiraz is your thing) by seeing reviews from other winos to help make your decision.

And don’t worry, it’s not all super floury language. The people reviewing wines are just like you. For example, one review I found for a Victorian red blend reads, “Went down easier than a bowling ball on a wet slide!” Sounds like a bloody good wine to me!

You can add in the wines that you like so you can revisit them or help out others in their decision making. You can also follow your mates and see what they’re drinking and loving – this makes gift-giving seriously easy or sussing out who brings the best-rated wine to a gathering.

You can even save yourself a trip to the store altogether next time and buy through Vivino – search the app by type of wine, regions, price range, even what food you want to pair it with or the style of wine you like – Argentinian Malbec anyone?

Download Vivino and you be the judge. You can also find out more about the Vivino Community Awards, an unbiased wine awards program that showcases the best wines of the past year, as decided by over 50 million Vivino users around the world. And who knows, your favourite wine could feature as part of the VCA 2022 list.

If you want a good jumping-off point, it’s worth noting that the #1 wine in the Vivino Community Awards was the Grant Burge Barossa Ink Shiraz, so when all else fails, opt for the wine that’s universally beloved by the wine community.