Wine 101: The Starter Wine Collection

As young professionals continue to navigate the world of business, entertaining and networking, a little wine know-how can come in handy. Even if you’re not an avid wine drinker, wine knowledge is a must in everything from dates and client dinners to hostess gifts and company team-building exercises. The experts at Apothic Wine have provided a few simple tips on what to do in the most common wine scenarios as part of our exclusive four-part series. 

Diving into the world of wine etiquette, we have thus offered insight to a few, often intimidating scenarios for the young professional: being the designated wine selector while on a client dinner and the art of the giving wine as a hostess gift.  Wine knowledge should be reflected in the home as well. As a rule, you should always have a diverse selection of wine for those times when guests drop by unexpectedly. This week, our friends at Apothic Wine tell us all we need to know on starting a home wine collection.

The Situation: You’d like to start your own wine collection to have nice bottles on-hand for when guests unexpectedly “stop by” your place.

Do your research

– Wine is a journey – the more you taste, the more you know what you like.  So, taste away! You can taste at local wineries, experiment in restaurants and most retailers have in-store tastings on weekends, so there’s lots of opportunity.

– Talk to sommeliers and in-store product consultants.  They are well trained and can recommend a variety of quality wines at different price points.

– Do a little homework. There are lots of great wine blogs (like Wine Access, Wine Spectator, and Wine Fox) and, of course, the Food & Drink columns of major daily newspapers across the country. 


– In addition to buying a few of your favourites, plus a few of the new “must-try” wines, why not also buy a couple of experimental bottles? 

– It’s a fun “tutorial” in wine – you and your impromptu guests can experiment together! Experimental wines don’t need to be too pricey. There are fantastic experimental wines out there for $15-$20.

Other Vitals

– What’s the magic number of bottles you should have on-hand for a “beginner” cellar? 10 to 12 – enough to provide you with a little diversity and options for guests with varying tastes.

– Store your wine in cool, dark, airy conditions – free from vibrations, odours and dampness.

Serving Tips

Serving Temperatures:
Sparkling wine: Cold to the touch (about 8°C – 10°C)
White wine: Cold in the glass, but not frosting it (about 8°C – 12°C)
Red wine: Slightly cooler than room temperature (about 15°C – 20°C)

Glassware: traditional wine glasses have a base, stem and a bowl.

Red wine glass: Fuller, rounder bowl with a large opening to allow you to stick your nose deeply into the glass – reds have complex aromas and a glass with a larger surface area will allow the wine to come into contact with more air.

White wine glass: The bowl of this glass is more U-shaped and upright, which allows for the aromas to be released while still maintaining a cooler temperature.

Sparkling wine glass: Also called a flute, is very narrow to retain effervescence and capture the flavour.

Stemless wine glass: The wine glass without a stem. Stemless wine glasses only consist of the bowl portion of the glass.

Apothic Wine has a number of great social media sites for YPs to connect with while they are getting acquainted with the world of wine: