Wine tips for beginners


1) Hold the wine glass by the stem. Other than the fact that it looks more elegant and you avoid messy handprints, it helps the wine stay cooler longer.

2) Swirl your glass. You might have noticed wine experts do this quite a lot. The idea is to draw oxygen in, reducing tannic effect and “opening up” the flavours.

3) What is tannin? It is what is what gives your mouth the dry sensation. Most commonly found in reds, it is what gives the wine the bitter taste and adds complexity. Dark chocolate and strong black tea also contain a lot tannins.

4) Serve and store wine at the right temperature. Serving wine at the proper temperature helps to subdue the alcohol and showcases fruit flavours present. In general white wines are served cooler than red wines. Sweet wine, dessert wine, sparkling wine, champagne and rose are also served chilled.

couple drinking wine on the beach

5) Be adventurous. The best way to discover new wines is to simply try them. Be open to trying a new wine each time you go to a restaurant and you might discover one you like more than the last.

6) Trust your taste. As you explore different wines, your palate will evolve and you will find new likes and dislikes that are unique to your taste. Never be afraid to champion what you like.

7) Stick your nose in. Wine aromas are a fantastic way to pick up distinct wine flavours. White styles are associated with tropical fruit aromas and reds tend to exhibit red and dark fruit flavours. Sniffing the wine is also a good way to tell if the wine has corked (gone bad) before tasting it.

8) How long should you keep it after opening? Keep white and rose wine stored in the fridge with cork on for 3 to 5 days. After opening, sparkling wine should be stored for a maximum of 3 days in the fridge. Store reds in a cool, dry place and drink within 5 days of opening.

9) Pair with food successfully. Try a Sauvignon blanc with anything you would squeeze a lemon into or a shiraz with juicy nyama choma. A simple way to pair is to match sweet and sour flavours. Try your favourite curry with a sweet wine. Chardonnay pairs well with buttery food.

10) Fun wine facts. The average bottle of wine contains 520 grapes (varies from 300–900 grapes). Dry wine has zero fat and 0–2g carbs. If you drink a glass of wine a night every night of your adult life, you will drink an equivalent of 4,160 bottles of wine.

Tips courtesy of WOW Beverages  Limited . One can pick a selection of wines from South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Spain and many more from their Wine Shop along Mandera road in Kileleshwa.

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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]


  1. My favourite, currently, is Four Cousins – Sweet Red. It isn’t heavy on the tannins so it goes well with light meals, salads, brunch etc, It is also a great quencher for thirsty-Thursdays ????????????????????

  2. My favorite wine is Robertson Winery Natural Sweet White, first because the taste is exquisite and secondly because of the packaging. The bottles are really pretty 🙂 Also, it’s my birthday on Valz so that ka-bottle of wine would be a treat