Beginner Wines: What to Drink When Just Starting Out, 21+

So you hate wine and you think it tastes terrible; how do I know this? Because I used to be in your shoes when I was in college too.

It wasn’t until this past year that I got a real taste for good, bad, and different types of wine. I have worked at a couple of liquor stores so I have also had the pleasure of tasting many different wines.

The key to starting out when drinking wine is to not overwhelm your taste buds or expectations.


If someone hands you a glass of wine and they  tell you how amazing it is, you will expect nothing but the best.

Of course, you have to consider who is handing you the glass: is it your parents, a wine-salesperson or a friend? Chances are, the salesperson or your friend would be the person to trust most.

The reason? Your friend (who I am assuming is around your age) has the same type of tastes and taste buds as you do.

The salesperson will get it right a lot of the time because he/she knows how to make a sale. He/she isn’t going to suggest a heavy burgundy when you look about 21 years old.

So what kind of wine is for the first-time wine drinker?

The best advice: stay light, stay fruity, and stay low on the alcohol scale; but only at first!

The reason you probably don’t like wine (or think you don’t) is because you simple tried the wrong TYPE of wine. Every type of wine can be broken down by intensity, boldness, alcohol content, and all sorts of other elements.

If you tried a merlot and you thought it was gross, the problem isn’t that you don’t like merlot, it’s that the merlot you tried simply wasn’t for you. They don’t all taste the same and there are different kinds within every “genre” of wine.

You need to warm up your palette to bigger, bolder wines so don’t jump in feet-first when you are only ready to dip your toe in the water. The way to do this is to ease yourself and your tongue into your wine adventure.

Here are some recommendation wines that I would tell any first drinker to try and enjoy!

1. Riesling – Cupcake Vineyards

Very sweet, very light, crisp, and refreshing.

2. Sauvignon Blanc – Monkey Bay

Sweet, with notes of grapefruit and citrus. Light and tasty.

3. Red Blend – Menage Trois

A very light sweetness, some bold flavors, overall very easy to drink.

4. Pinot Nior  – 99 Vines

Light, fruity, and smooth – you’ll love this as a red wine and you can’t beat the price.

5. Cabernet Sauvignon – The Show

Bold flavor, high alcohol content, not too strong that you won’t want to drink it.

6. Sangria – Carlo Rossi Red Wine Sangria

Sweet, fruity, and easy to drink. It’s light, but still packs enough of a kick to give you a good buzz.

Try these wines and you will never go back to being a non-wine-drinker again! And remember, if you don’t like a wine, don’t write it off; try something else in the same family and you may be pleasantly surprised!

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