Buying wine can be a scary experience. There’s variety, country, price, and half a dozen other things to consider. A fancy wine shop may have someone to advise you, but what if your only option is a theka?

To help ease the stress, here are tips for the next time picking up the wine is your responsibility.

  • At first sight: Avoid bottles that look battered. If the screwcap is dented or the cork is sticking out of the neck, consider the bottle damaged, and do not buy it.
  • Screwcap vs. cork: Wine bottles with cork closures may seem more premium but it’s a misconception that cork is better than screwcap. Many countries like Australia, Austria, and New Zealand prefer screwcaps even for their high-end wines, so don’t be stuck on the idea of cork. Practically speaking, screwcaps allow you to preserve bottles upright, are easier to open, and can be stored easier once opened.
  • New is gold, too: Every bottle of wine will have a year prominently printed on its label. That ‘vintage’ is the year in which the grapes used to make the wine were harvested. This is important to consider, since not all wines are meant to age – older is not always better. Some are intended to be drunk within a year or two from the vintage. Don’t buy a white wine that’s over three years old, and a red wine no older than four years is a safe bet.
  • Speaking of bubbly: There are various styles of sparkling wine available in the market. If you’re looking for a dry {not sweet} one, then look for the word ‘Brut’ on the bottle. The slightly sweet variations are ‘demi-sec’ or ‘sec’.
  • Country-wise: France and Italy aren’t the only countries that make good wine. Wines from Chile, Australia, and Argentina are reliable and great value for money.
  • Pocket friendly: Let’s be honest, there’s no point buying expensive wines at a theka. There’s no assurance of how they’ve been transported or stored, so it’s best to buy wines that are under INR 3000.
  • Being picky: Heat and direct light spoil wine, so when picking a bottle, try to get one that’s been refrigerated or one that was stored at the back of the shelf.
  • Movers and shakers: The safest wines are the ones that move the fastest. They may not be the best but at least you’re not buying dead stock. Some of the popular drinkable brands at thekas that don’t spend much time parked on a shelf are Jacob’s Creek {Australia}, Hardy’s {Australia}, Torres {Spain}, and Emiliana {Chile}.
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