How to Find a Good Bottle of Wine

pouring red wine in glass

Whether you’re trying to find the perfect bottle to bring to dinner, or you’re making an effort to zero in on your own personal preference and taste, finding a good bottle of wine can be a tough task. It can also be intimidating. With the sheer number of wines you’re presented with at your local liquor store, your options can seem unlimited.

The label of each bottle of wine can tell you a lot about what’s inside. You can learn about the region, vintage, variety, producer, tasting notes, alcohol by volume (ABV) and more. But what does it all mean?

The friendly staff in Springs Group liquor stores can be a big help when it comes to choosing a great wine, but it helps to know what you’re looking at. In this article, we’ll point out some of the big considerations to make when looking for a good wine, and break down some of the key indicators you can find on each bottle.



old map of the globe

If you’re new to wine or don’t know where to start looking for a good bottle, region is one of the best indicators you have. Every region has its own soil, its own climate and its own grapes. And for that reason, regions can tell you a lot about the quality of the wine – as well as the price.
For example, wine from the Napa Valley region or Tuscany region in Italy are sure to carry some of the best wines in the world, and also some of the most expensive. If you look to less famous wine regions to make your pick, you’ll find some lower prices and maybe some extra value.

When trying to choose a wine region, the general rule of them is to look for the smallest, most precise region. The smaller the region, the greater the chances just one type of grape was used in production. And while this doesn’t necessarily guarantee the quality of the wine, it does mean you know what you’re getting.

For example, a wine label that mentions ‘single vineyard’ on the bottle is as small as you can get. On the other end of the spectrum, a wine labelled ‘Argentina’ or ‘California’ is about as wide as you can get, and you’ll have no clue what grapes or how many varieties were used in production.

> Read our BC Wine Region Guide.


Old World vs. New World

old town in Europe

‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ are other label features to watch for, which are closely tied to the region of the wine. Old World wines come from the regions of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Hungary and Croatia, which place heavy rules and regulations on wine production. For that reason, when choosing an Old World wine, you can be sure you’re getting a degree of quality.

New World wine is basically everything that isn’t Old World. There are plenty of plenty of quality wine regions in Canada, the US, Australia, Chile, and many more countries, so don’t let the country be a deterrent. But we aware of wines labelled ‘single varietal’, ‘reserve’ or ‘old vine’. In New World wine regions, the rules sometimes aren’t as strict, meaning a bottle labeled as single varietal may only contain 75% of that variety.


Consider the Occasion

table set with glassware

The occasion is an important factor when choosing a bottle wine. The bottle you bring to a dinner party may be different than the bottle you have at home for movie night. What your having with the wine should determine what variety of wine you choose. For example, an acidic meal will pair well with an acidic wine, and a rich and heavy meal will pair well with a bold wine. Dessert will require different wine too.

If you’re unsure what’s being served for dinner, you could grab a well-balanced bottle of both white and red – something that isn’t too bold or too sweet. If something light is being served, like fish or chicken, white wine is typical recommendation. On the other hand, if something heavier like red meat is being served, red white is the safest option.

If you’re staying at home with a friend, spouse or roommate, that’s the perfect opportunity to branch out and try something new. Don’t be afraid to be bold! You might just find your new favourite.



grapevine with red grapes

As consumers, experience has taught us that price is a good indicator of quality, regardless of the product. Reasonably so, price is one of the main indicators people look for at the wine shop, especially if they aren’t as educated on the regions, varieties, and producers of wine. This is where many go wrong. Price is not the most important indicator of wine quality.

It’s possible to spend a small fortune on wine that is sub-par. Equally so, it’s possible to find a delicious, high quality wine for under $20.



vineyard with great view

The producer of the wine can you a lot about what’s inside. Like anything, certain producers will have better reputations than others. That are also several layers to production. Some companies will grow, produce and bottle the wine, which means they were responsible for the winemaking process from start to finish. Other companies are just the bottlers, which means they didn’t make the wine. There are also many companies somewhere in the middle – the were involved in the production of the wine, but not the whole process.

Companies that grow, produce and bottle their own wine are generally considered the safest best for high quality, because the wine making responsibilities have not changed hands at any point. The level of involvement is higher when you looking after the process from start to finish.


Keep Track of What You Like

The only way to gain any sense of your personal preference and taste for wine is look back on what you did and didn’t like. That’s why a wine journal is a great idea. Every time you bring home a wine, write down the name, and if you like it, write down the region, production company, variety and tasting notes found on the label. That way, next time you’re in the wine shop, you can buy a similar wine with similar attributes.


Next time you’re on the hunt for a bottle of wine, stop by your local Springs Group liquor store. We’ve got locations in Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, and Maple Ridge, and our friendly staff would be more than happy to help you.