Quick Guide to Wine Selection

Ashley’s Quick Guide to Wine Selection:

Selecting the perfect wine for your occasion is fairly simple once you know what to look for. Unless you are able to taste the wine before you buy, the selection process can be daunting. Here are my best tips on wine selection that will help you pick the perfect wine.

Start with LOCATION.

Most wine retailers will organize selections based on where the wine is from. Location will tell you a lot about the wine’s flavor, so this is the best place to start. European (Old World) wines are made with traditional practices and will tend to have more complex and earthy flavors. American (New World) wines tend to have more floral and citrus flavors. Climate will also have an impact on the wine. If it’s from a hot part of the world it will be spicier. If it’s from a cold part of the world it will be crisper. For example, Riesling is a crisp white wine, so you would want to buy one from Germany or upstate NY rather than one from Australia or Chili.

Pro Tip: What grows together, goes together.

If you are cooking an italian meal, pick an italian wine.

Red vs. White. (skip this step)

Red and white wines come from the same grapes. The coloration happens in the wine making process. Red wines are made with the grape skins left on. In white wines, the skins have been removed. Leaving on the skins will change the flavor of the wine, but don’t make your selection based on color alone. Instead pick a region of the world, skip red vs. white for now and move right on to your price range.


There is a good wine for sale at every price point and you can find this wine with a little bit of wine knowledge. Again, start by first picking a regions of the world. Ask yourself, are you drinking wine with food? Or just a glass on its own? Are you looking for something crisp and refreshing? (Cold regions) Something with complex earthy flavors? (Old World) Once you are happy with the location and have identified how much you want to spend, you can narrowed down your selection to a few bottles.

Now we read the labels.

Most bottles will have descriptions of the flavor and you will already have an idea of what these flavor are or should be based on where they grapes were grown. You will also want to consider the % alcohol content. Higher alcohol (12.5-13%) will have stronger taste and may bring heat.

My favorites and general crowd pleasers:

Pinot Noir – Light, smooth red. Great from Northern California, Oregon, Washington (cold places).
Chianti – Light Italian red. Only from Italy. Cheap ones are as good as the expensive ones.
Cabernet Savignon – More flavorful, fuller red. Spicier from hot places, lighter from cool places.

Savignon Blanc – Flavorful crisp white. Flavor will change with climate. Try one from France!
Riesling – Fruity, crisp sweet white. Stick to cold places for this one.
Pino Grigio – More flavorful, crisp white. There are good value wines from Italy.
Chardonay – Usually oaky, fully bodied flavors. Great selections from California.

5 Free iPhone Apps for 20-Somethings

1. Kik Messengerbecause you miss BBMKik

Text  in Real Time

The beauty of BlackBerry Messanger was all in the delivery. Now you can have it back. Toss your BBM pin and grab a Kik username.

Kik Messenger tells you when a message has been sent , delivered, read, and even when someone is typing back, turning regular texting into real-time conversations. Texts are unlimited and also work on iPods and Android platforms.

2. Urbanspoonthe dinner date decision maker


If food is your goal and decision making is not one of your strong points leave yourself in the hands of Urbanspoon’s mobile apps, a kind of restaurant slot machine.

The app is location based and wide spread so it is perfect whether you are traveling or in your own neighborhood.

You can customize your choices based on the neighborhood, cuisine and price you are interested in. Keep spinning until you get a restaurant you want to try. If you don’t like the luck of the draw slot machine, you can search or browse restaurants, or use your current location to identify the nearest restaurants to you.

If all that wasn’t cool enough, Urbanspoon allows for customer reviews and menu previews so you can be sure your selection will be a good one!

3. Real Simple Listsbecause you don’t know where to start

As a 20 something you are going to be faced with some new tasks you have not been faced with in your early years… like cleaning your house top to bottom. This app contains more than 30 popular Real Simple checklists, which you can customize, including:


  • 10 cleaning and organizing lists
  • Home inventory & safety lists
  • Moving list
  • Get out of debt list
  • Vacation packing and planning lists
  • Wardrobe basics list
  • Beauty care list according to time of year
  • Party planning lists
  • Baby shower planning list
  • Christmas countdown list
  • 6 Wedding planning lists

4. To-Do Tomorrowfeel good about procrastinating

This is essentially verbatim from their site… and it’s perfect.

Do you love procrastinating? Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow? That’s the spirit!  Planning out your entire week is a bummer – To-Do (Tomorrow) lets you give yourself reminders for today, but makes it really easy to push things off to tomorrow. Party today, do tasks tomorrow!

This app is really simple, sharp looking, and fun to use. You can add items quickly and get the satisfaction of crossing them off or pushing them to the next day.

iPhone Screenshot 2iPhone Screenshot 1



5. Instagrameverything is beautiful


If you have an iPhone without this app on it, you are behind the times. Instagram is an amazingly fun and simple social photography app.

Instagram’s photo filters will take your lame cell phone photos and transform them into frame-ready works of art.

You can take, change and post as many photos as you want, for free. The social side of the app also allows you to find and follow friends who are using the app. Built in sharing allows for posts to Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Posterous, Facebook and Foursquare.

Here are a few of my own:

30 Before 30

This is the goal-setting blog that never ends. I’ve never seen the movie The Bucket List, but I like the idea. So I am taking from my primary goals and new to-do lists and adding in a dozen or more things that I would like to accomplish in my 20s.

You won’t see marriage, babies or house purchasing on this list. Instead you will find sandcastles, travel and hybrid cars. I’m not writing a true Bucket List, which is meant to be a list of things to do before you die. Instead I’ve made a somewhat short 30 before 30 list.

Now that my list is ready I am very interested in your 30 before 30 list, or your 100 things list, or your Bucket List.

Already have a list? Please do not hesitate to post it here. If you don’t have a list, why not write one? I would love to host them on my site.

Submit your list here: