Let’s face it. Wine isn’t for everyone. Yes, yes, it’s nearly blasphemous to suggest such a thing, but it’s the truth. Not everyone likes the taste of wine. As a matter of fact, many people who rave about their favorite wines might have started out hating the taste of it.
Has there ever been a time when you’ve been offered a glass of wine and drawn back a little after tasting it? Don’t worry. You aren’t the only one.
That does not, however, mean that you’re not a wine person. It also doesn’t mean that you’re now relegated to drinking sparkling grape juice every time your friends get together for dinner. Even if you’re not fond of wine today, you can learn how to better appreciate it.
We want to help you do that. Our goal is to introduce you to the best wines out there for people who don’t like it.
There are plenty of options in the world of wine. It can take those who are passionate about drinking wine for many years to learn all about vintages, tastes, and flavors. Our aim is to help save you some time by showing you where to get started.
We’ll review some great options for people who don’t like wine, plus answer some questions you might have about wine in general. No matter what your previous experience, we suggest you forget what you think about wine and get ready for a fresh, new start.
Red or White Wine?
Speaking strictly in generalities, white wine is typically better than red wine for people who don’t like wine because it tends to be lighter, crisper, sweeter, and less overwhelming on the palette. Red wines are dry, formidable, herbaceous, aromatic, and high in tannins.
For instance, whites like Chardonnay, Moscato, and Riesling are good places to start for people who don’t like wine. Reds like Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot can be hard to handle for first-timers.
Of course, this isn’t always true and you can’t make a blanket statement like that without pointing out some exceptions to the rule. For instance, artisan wines from small family wineries can be excellent choices for people who don’t have a taste for wine, even if they are red.
If you know where to look, you can find family farms that use unique berries instead of grapes to craft their wines. Raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries can make very sweet, juicy red wines.
If you don’t want to look too hard, you can try a Syrah or a Pinot Noir, which tend to be smoother and easier on the palette, even though they can be a bit dry. They also tend to have lighter fruit flavors than some other red varieties.
On the other hand, there are some white wines that someone who doesn’t like wine wouldn’t want to try, at least not right away. Sauvignon Blanc can be crisp and refreshing, but it tends to be quite zingy, which some people find unpleasant.
Of course, all of this is subjective. If you’re not a wine drinker, you just haven’t had the right type of wine yet. There are so many wines out there that you can’t possibly try them all, so keep experimenting.
There really is a wine for everyone, no matter what you like.
Best Wine for People Who Don’t Like Wine
Here are some of the wines we recommend trying for those that aren’t partial to wine.
Rieslings are one of the sweeter wines on the market, which is why we recommend starting here. You’ll get great aromas from a glass or this wine, even when it’s been chilled. You might experience fruity aromas like apricot, pear, nectarine, and apple.
Other than fruit, you’ll smell ingredients such as lime peel, honeycomb, or jasmine. When you take a drink, you’ll notice an acidic taste similar to what you experience when drinking lemonade. But don’t let that stop you. Rieslings are delicious and flavorful, perfect for those who don’t like wine.
If you like Rieslings, then you might also like a Pinot Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, Chenin Blanc, or Muscat Blanc.
- Smells sweet and fruity
- Has a refreshing and crisp taste
- Go great with cheeses, fruits, and spicy meals
High level of acidity is a potential turnoff
Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines on the market today, which is just one of the reasons we recommend it for people who don’t like wine. You’ll discover that Chardonnay can take on flavors like pear, apple, pineapple, lemon, passionfruit, fig, peach, and jackfruit.
Some Chardonnays may have an oaky flavor that resembles vanilla. This wine has a medium acidic level and gives off a buttery taste.
If you like the way Chardonnay tastes, you can also try Savatiano, Roussanne, Viognier, and Marsanne.
- Has a creamy, smooth taste
- Perfect when paired with chicken, mushrooms, lobster, and soft cheese
- Some offerings are high in acid
We’ve covered a couple of white wines so far, but one of the more popular red wines is the light-bodied Pinot Noir. Known for its flower, spice, and fruity aromas, Pinot Noirs also has a smooth finish.
We recommend Pinot Noir due to its complex tastes that often resemble mocha, vanilla, and strawberry. Pinot Noirs are great with pasta and other tomato-based dishes like pizza.
For those who enjoy Pinot Noir, you might also consider Gamay, St. Laurent, Zweigelt, and Nerello Mascalese.
- Isn’t hard on the stomach
- Great for wine drinkers who don’t like a lot of acidities
- Excellent balance for those who don’t like wine
Many subpar offerings on the market since the grapes are difficult to grow
White Zinfandel is well-known as a wine that is both fruity and refreshing. It often resembles peach, pear, strawberry, and pineapple in taste. It’s great when paired with seafood, fruits, and cheeses.
It’s not too sweet or too dry and is a great wine for someone who doesn’t like wine to start with.
Some great alternatives for White Zinfandel include Moscato, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc.
- A great wine for beginners or those who don’t like wine
- Excellent balance between sweetness and dryness
- Not too bold, solid flavor
- Usually made with grapes of lower-quality
- Poor reputation among wine enthusiasts
The flavors you’ll notice in a Sauvignon Blanc are primary fruits. These include passion fruit, green apple, white peach, and lime. You’ll discover flavors that range from flowery peach to zesty lime depending on where the wine was made and how ripe the grapes were.
Sauvignon Blanc is distinct from other white wines with the use of flavors like grass, gooseberry, bell pepper, and jalapeno. These flavors are what give Sauvignon Blanc a unique and flavorful taste.
If you like Sauvignon Blanc, you could also try Alsatian Gewurztraminer, Falanghina, and Erbaluce.
- Low sugar content
- Refreshing and crisp taste
Some vintages might be acidic
Syrah is often referred to as Shira and is a dark red wine that’s great for those who don’t like wine. This type of wine is known for being full-bodied and having high levels of tannins. The flavors of Syrahs often include pepper, berries, and tobacco.
Wines that taste similar to Syrah include Petite Sirah, Mencia, Alicante Bouschet, and Monastrell.
- Has a complex, robust, and deep taste
- Very high level of antioxidants
Could be too heavy for those who don’t like wine
Last on our list is Pinot Grigio, also known as Pino Gris. This white wine is a light, crisp offering with a tangy flavor that will leave you thinking about white peaches and green apples. Pinot Grigio has a distinct zesty taste that goes great with pasta, pizza, and poultry.
This refreshing white wine is great when chilled and serves as the perfect option on a hot summer day.
If you enjoy the taste of Pinot Grigio, then you might try a Pinot Blanc, Albarino, Friulano, Grechetto, or Arneis.
- Refreshing and crisp on hot days
- A great wine for those who don’t like wine
- Very accessible flavor
- Well-known and popular white wine
Many wine enthusiasts suggest its taste is too simple
Which Wines to Try if You Drink…
Your choice of beverage could tell you a lot about what wines you’ll like. It’s not that you don’t like wine, it’s that you haven’t tried the right kind yet. Here are some suggestions.
If you’re a beer drinker, that doesn’t really tell you a lot about the wine you might like until we narrow down what kind of beer you enjoy.
People who drink light beer will enjoy something akin to champagne. It’s light and crisp, just like light beer, and a Spanish Cava champagne is affordable enough to drink as much as you might drink beer. It’s also refreshing and bubbly.
If you like a pale ale, try a Pinot Noir. It’s a lighter red wine and not as heavy as a dry red. It’s also not bitter. It gives you great structure and body, just like your pale ale, and can be served at a cooler temperature.
IPA is complex but can be sweet and fruity. A Carmenere wine gives you that same fruity, savory, and bitter structure, as well as higher alcohol content, much like an IPA. You may also want to try Mourvedre, Aglianico, or Cabernet Franc.
Butter Chardonnay is perfect for wheat ale drinkers because the lemon and apple notes mirror that of a wheat beer. The vanilla and oak aging aromas are nice, and the smooth and creamy taste will feel a lot like your wheat ale does. You can also take a look at Semillon, Roussanne, or Viognier.
Fans of Belgian ales like smooth, bubbly textures with a lot of bodies. Belgian ales have a higher alcohol content and are sweeter. Try a Grenache blend or Shiraz for a smooth, fruity, smoky sweetness you’ll love with lots of bodies and high alcohol content.
Porters are earthy and dark, packing a punch in your mouth. For a similar wine, try Chianti or Bordeaux. Their taste profile is earthy with medium body and they pair with similar foods as a Porter.
One of the common similarities between spirits and wines is the oak aging process. Still, spirits vary in flavor profile, body, and aroma just as much as wine does, so it’s typically easy to find something you’ll enjoy.
Now I’m going to contradict myself. It’s actually quite tricky to find a wine you might like if you normally drink single malt scotch. That’s because it depends on the variety of single malt scotch.
Single malt scotch varies in flavor based on region. The water supply has a lot to do with these differences. Try a Pinot Noir, Pouilly Fume, Sforszato, Chablis, or Austrian Gruner-Veltliner.
Tequila sippers have an easier time with Syrah because it’s briny, smoky, and spicy with many of the same qualities as tequila or mezcal. This is a smooth transition into the world of wine you like shots from the south of the border.
Gin has flavors and aromas of juniper, so white Italian wines are great choices. Try Erbaluce or Falanghina. Alsatian Gewurztraminer or French Sauvignon Blanc both have many of these same qualities and may be easier to find.
Cognac goes through a long maturation period in an oak cask. It’s a grape distillate, which makes it a breeze to compare with wines like Amarone. Dried fruit, oak, deep dark chocolate flavors, and higher alcohol will add the complexity you love.
Vodka drinkers will enjoy something crisp and clean like a Loire Valley Muscadet. They have more body than a smooth white but are still easy drinking.
American Whiskey includes Rye, Bourbon, Wheat, Malt, and Corn Whiskies. Most have charred sweet vanilla flavors which you’ll also find in Washington Merlot or Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t normally drink wine, you may have quite a few questions. It’s not just about which wines you’ll like, but perhaps how to drink wine, in general, that has you stumped.
What are the benefits of drinking wine?
There are plenty. Various studies tout the numerous health benefits of drinking wine, among which are heart health, decreased the risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes, decreased the risk of stroke, increased bone density, lower cholesterol, and immune system support for better health overall.
Regardless of whether these things are true or not, wine does contain antioxidants, which are great for your health and for your skin. These antioxidants contribute to preventing all of the health problems I just mentioned. And just in case you’re wondering, white wine (believe it or not) has more antioxidants than red, which is interesting considering all of the studies on how good red wine is for your heart.
Wine isn’t a substitute for proper diet or vitamin supplements, but it’s a fun way to ward off illness. Some studies even show that having a glass of wine (or any alcohol) with your meals can prevent food poisoning by killing bacteria in the stomach.
Just be aware that as with any type of alcohol, too much wine can have poor effects on your health. Drinking in moderation is always the key to enjoying your new favorite wine variety.
What are the characteristics of wine I should pay attention to?
There are too many to go over in this quick FAQ section. The basics include sweetness, acidity, tannin, alcohol, and body. Each impacts the flavor and texture of the wine in a different way, and you can read about them ad nauseum from various reputable sources like us.
Right now, the most important thing to focus on is the wines that have similar qualities to what you normally like to drink. This makes for a smoother transition to the world of wine. As you get more comfortable, you can branch out and try different things.
The more wine you drink, the more you’ll be able to differentiate between these characteristics and determine what you like. The other beautiful thing about trying an accessible wine to start is that eventually, you will enjoy the wines that you don’t now.
What kind of glass should I use?
Oenophiles (fancy word for wine snobs) will tell you that there are specific types of glasses you should use to drink different types of wines. Technically, that’s true. But for someone who is new to wine drinking, you’ll hardly notice the gentle nuances that come from trying a different flute shape.
Pick a glass you’re comfortable drinking out of to begin. You don’t need to purchase all new stemware just to experiment with wine. Every wine you try can be enjoyed out of the same glass for now.
My wife is a big wine drinker. She likes all kinds, all vintages, and all colors. Yet day after day I see her grab that same trusty wine glass she’s been using for years out of the pantry because it’s not just about the flavor of the wine for her.
It’s about the experience. Relaxing at the end of a hard day just isn’t the same with a stuffy, etched crystal glass as it is with her favorite pink, stemless glass.
How much does it cost?
Cost is all over the spectrum. Every wine is different. It has to do with region, age, production, ingredients, and much more. Just remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great wine. There are great wines in every budget. Price should not be your main determining factor when purchasing.
Does it need to be refrigerated?
Not always. In fact, hardly ever. But some wines taste better chilled. That’s an experiment you can conduct on your own at home once you find the wine you like. Generally, white wines taste better chilled while red wines are best left in the back of the pantry until your ready.
Just remember, wine doesn’t have to be refrigerated after opening unless you like to drink it that way. It won’t go bad if you cork it or seal it after opening and put it back in the cabinet.
How does it age?
Aging is a popular term when it comes to wine. How long is it aged? How does it age? Do I need to let it age? However, aging has more to do with how long it ferments before it’s bottled. After it’s bottled and sent to the store, the aging process is over.
You do not need to let your bottled wines age before opening them. However, they won’t go bad if you don’t open them right away either. You can buy a bottle of wine and leave it unopened in the pantry for a year or so without it affecting the quality.
After you open your wine, it should be consumed within two weeks to one month or it will go bad. Oxygen is not your friend, so if don’t drink the whole bottle at once, make sure you seal it properly before putting it back so you can enjoy it again in a few days.
All of the wines described here are great places to start. Some are common and others are obscure, but nothing really matters as much as how it tastes to you. Of course, common wine varieties are most accessible because they’re easier to find.
Moscato and Pinot Noir specifically are the two you might want to try first. Moscato is light and crisp. It’s low in alcohol content, making it easier to drink. It pairs well with seafood, but some people who don’t like sweet drinks may not like it a lot.
Pinot Noir is smooth and jammy. It has more body but it’s not too acidic, making it easy on your system. It’s popular, so be wary of low-quality bottles. In this particular case, you may want to avoid the cheapest one you find.
Other than that, treat this as an experiment and enjoy yourself. Just because you don’t like the first few you try doesn’t mean there isn’t a wine out there for you. Have fun!