Last Updated on
“Wine of life!” — That’s our motto around here. Wine is life. There’s nothing quite like a glass of crisp pinot gris on a warm summer day or relaxing with a merlot around a fire. Wine is a gift from the gods that keeps on giving and we’re here to enjoy every last drop. Don’t you agree?
Our Mission at Vino Del Vida
To help you discover, enjoy and savor every beautiful bottle of wine, no matter the region or variety, at every price point.
We aim to make wine buying easy for everyone. Anyone can enjoy a beautiful bottle of vino, no matter your preference, budget, or location. You don’t have to travel to Spain, Italy or France to uncork greatness anytime, anywhere.
Authenticity: Real wine drinkers bringing you real wine reviews and selections. Our contributors are serious wine lovers and have field tested their selections (tough job, right?).
Accessibility: You don’t need to become a professional sommelier to buy an amazing bottle. We will always give you a selection that you can find and purchase in your budget too.
Passion: We are passionate about wine and bring that joy to every word we write.
Why Vino Del Vida?
Unlike other wine sites, we don’t have any affiliation with any brand or company, which means we can choose the wines we personally like best to recommend. That means you can trust our opinions to be unbiased giving you real information based on real experiences.
Our writers are just like you. They have their own preferences and they love wine, but they don’t know everything. We match our writers with the types of wine they love and have experience with so that you get an honest look into the world of all things vino.
We not only review specific wine varieties very thoroughly, but we also compare these types of wine with each other so that you can make better decisions based on what you already know you like. You can come to our pages to find out everything you’d ever want to know about the history of your favorite wine, where it came from, and fun facts you never knew.
Some Tips on How to Choose a Perfect Bottle of Vino
When you’re at a restaurant and you’re looking for the perfect bottle of wine to pair with your food, your bartender, waiter, or other qualified staff can help you with that decision. However, when you’re shopping on your own, it can be a bit trickier.
If you know a lot about wine, maybe you won’t have a problem, but for those of us who don’t know everything, it takes a bit of research and planning. Not to mention, labels can be confusing and hard to read, so you don’t always know what you’re looking at.
The good news is that there are some simple ways to evaluate a bottle of wine and figure out what you like and what you don’t before you open the bottle. Everyone defines good wine differently, but wines are evaluated based on several factors including:
Sweetness: Sweet, semi-sweet, and dry are all terms used to describe the sweetness of a wine. Dry wines are not sweet at all.
Acidity: High acidity wines are sharp and tart while low acidity wines are round and rich.
Tannins: All grapes have tannins in their skin, but the amount of natural tannins vary. Some winemaking processes add tannins during aging. Tannins can dry out your mouth, but the term dry characterizes the sweetness of the wine, not the amount of tannins. Tannins will give a wine a bitter finish.
Body: Wines are light-bodied, full-bodied, or something in between. This refers to how it feels in your mouth. Red wines are typically fuller than white wines, but there are exceptions. Grapes from warm regions will make fuller wines than grapes from cool regions.
Alcohol: All wine has some amount of alcohol. Higher alcohol content warms your mouth and throat more. Most wine hovers around 12% alcohol by volume, but they can be as little as 5.5% or as much as 20%.
If you’re new to wine…
If you’re not a wine drinker, you may not even know where to start, but understanding these characteristics is crucial to trying some new things and figuring out what you like. Here are some more tips for picking the right bottle of wine:
If you’re new, start with white or rose. Just like a baby would start out with natural foods that are bland and have no additives, you should start your wine journey at the beginning, with less assertive qualities. You could develop an early distaste for bitter or dry wines if you dive right in instead of starting out slow. If you don’t like sweet things, try a light-bodied, dry white or rose.
Think about other flavors you like. Your favorite foods will help you decide what kinds of wines you’ll like. If you like candy and ice cream, you’ll likely enjoy a sweet wine. If you like the bitterness of coffee, you’ll prefer an acidic wine.
Why are you buying a bottle of wine? Is for you to enjoy or are you going to share it with others? Are you planning a meal to go with it or using it while cooking? Wines serve plenty of purposes, and these purposes will influence how you buy a bottle.
If you want something that’s sure to please everyone, grab a bottle of both white and red so they have options or choose wines that are more evenly balanced between sweetness, body, and acidity.
If you’re pairing this wine with your meal, find one that complements your recipe. White wines go with lighter dishes like chicken and red wines go with heavier dishes like beef.
If you’re going to be mixing your wine with a cocktail or using it in a recipe with food, the flavors aren’t as important as if you’re going to be drinking it alone. Get a cheaper bottle so you don’t waste your good wine on flavors that won’t be as noticeable afterward.
Read the label and know what you’re reading. You may find pretty pictures and attractive fonts enticing, but that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy what’s inside. If you know what to look for, reading it can be pretty easy.
As a general rule, if the label has a lot of information on it, the better the wine will be as far as quality. That doesn’t mean it has the flavor you like, though.
Refer to the back for the definitions of acidity, tannins, sweetness, body, and alcohol.
Look for descriptors like notes or aromas that sound familiar and you know you like. For instance, apple, citrus, or chocolate.
The information may be standard, but the location of the information on the label isn’t always. Look around to find what you need and if you can’t find any information at all, move on.
Second label wines can be a fantastic and affordable alternative. Many wineries are selective about which grapes they include in their wines. These are first label wines made from only the best grapes. They’re expensive and limited. If you don’t have the money or are just beginning your journey, you’ll find that second label wines are seemingly identical on an inexperienced tongue. They come from the same vineyard and may have only missed the first label by a small and insignificant (to you) mark. Plus, they cost a fraction of the first run.
Don’t stress about age. Not your age. The age of the wine. Older wine isn’t always better. In fact, some wines don’t age well at all, and that’s why you’ll find a newer vintage on the shelf. It’s not always the best indicator. In general, red wines age more gracefully and it could be more significant in those cases, but whites don’t need to age for as long.
Ignore the price. If you can’t afford the wine, don’t buy it. Plenty of great wines have lower price tags. For instance, wine on sale has simply been sitting on the shelf for too long or it’s not in season. Determining which bottle of wine to buy based on price could lead to some great purchases, but it could also lead to poor quality. All we’re saying is, don’t use price alone to choose.
Screw caps aren’t bad. Your bottle doesn’t have to be corked to be good. A screw cap likely indicates a wine that needs to be opened and consumed within the year. They’re great for picnics, the pool, or backyard grilling sessions because you don’t need a bottle opener.
Keep track of all the wines you try so you know what you like and what you don’t. Your selection process will refine itself over time and you’ll get better at predicting whether you’ll like what’s in the bottle or not based on these factors.
Some wine resources to get you started! Start here!
- The Best Wine Subscription Services Out There
- How to Find the Best Cabernet Sauvignon
- How to Find the Best Pinot Grigio
- How to Find the Best Malbec Wine
- How To Find The Best Riesling Wine
- How to Find the Best Shiraz Wine
About the Founder
I first discovered how transformational a glass of wine could be when I took a family trip to Paris. As cliché as it sounds, that little bottle of French wine (still can’t remember the name) that I and my husband bought in a little corner shop, for a few francs nonetheless made me a believer that anything can happen with the right bottle of wine.
Maybe it was also the French air, the beautiful cobbled streets, or the decadent cheese we consumed that night, but I will never forget that perfect glass of red. I’ve been on the hunt ever since to recreate that experience and so after many, many bottles of wine later, I created this site. (You can find the best French wine, starting here!)
You see, the perfect glass of wine does exist but just as the growing season for the grapes changes the taste and flavor of every bottle, so to does my mood. Sometimes I crave a California Cab Sav, sometimes a robust Australian merlot. I will never stop searching for that perfect bottle and I hope this site can help you find yours!
Even as I write this, I’m enjoying a crisp, glass of Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc — a lovely, dry wine from Leyda Valley, Chile with gooseberry, white pepper, melon and lime flavors, and a medium finish. It just seems like a perfect pairing to this warm summer night, don’t you agree? It’s also one of my favorite value picks.
You see, the perfect glass of wine doesn’t have to cost you a lot. I believe that everyone deserves the “Vino Del Vida” and I’m here to make that happen. So, come and join me as we search every region, every variety of wine together. Please, share your favorite picks, your must-haves, and your best wine tips too!
Tammy Wunsch loves wine, vineyards, and travel. Her blog, ExpatWriter.com, prominently features these three topics, as well as information about living the digital nomad life. Tammy is the author of “The Navarre Brotherhood,” an adventure novel about a search for the Knights Templar treasure. She lives in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut and spends her free time working on a sequel, planning her next trip, and seeking out new wines to share with friends. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
There are few things Cacie loves more than a glass of red wine in the evening (or a few). Cacie has sipped her way through California, France, and Italy trying to learn everything she could about different wines and where they come from. Now, she enjoys filling others in on what she has discovered. One thing she has happily learned is that the best wines aren’t always the most expensive.
Erin Jamieson brings the latest information to you on wine flavors and types so you can enjoy your next glass to the fullest. In the past, she covered wine selections for weddings and engagement parties. She also previously worked with a private chef company to suggest the perfect wine pairings and believes there is a flavor for every occasion. Erin Jamieson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio.
Kathryn Loveless is a freelance writer for hire who delights in all things delectable. You can find her perfecting a roast chicken recipe, hunting down a new bottle of scotch, or hosting a wine and cheese soirée somewhere in New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
She might be in full-time mom-mode during the day, but Chrissy understands the value (and need) for a good glass of wine once the kids have been put to bed. That’s why she has made it her mission to find the best and most affordable options so you can get the most out of your own downtime without wasting your nightly glass on cheap boxed wine. Life is way too short for that!
Justin likes to think he has a sophisticated palette, so he enjoys everything from sweet white to hearty red. His personal favorite is Fireside Winery’s Glow, but he’s open to trying anything at least once. His house is always full of wine, because his wife likes it even more than he does, and together, they share their affinity for the finer things in life.
Yes, Sarah is Justin’s wine-loving wife (see above). Sarah has been a lover of wine for quite a few years, but she doesn’t know everything (there are too many bottles to try!). That’s why she’s taking this journey with her readers to explore where wines come from, how they taste, and with what they should be paired. It’s all in good fun, and maybe one day she’ll be a professional oenophile. Until then, she’ll just continue to love the experience.
Ben practiced as a “Wine connoisseur” in the restaurant industry for over 2 years. He suggested, tested and educated diners on which wine would best fit their meal. Ben is also a freelance writer with over 4 years of experience. He now shares his insights on wine and wine accessories for those looking to take their love of this amazing beverage to the next level!
Lauren is a Washington, DC native who spends her free time traveling eating and of course, drinking her way through the city. She works in marketing for government travel during the day, and at night writes for various travel and food sites as well as her own blog. So far, her favorite destinations have been Ios, Greece and Paris, France where she enjoyed some of the best bottles of vino around and she looks forward to traversing more of the globe with friends and family.