Trying to pick a good bottle of wine is hard. The wine aisle of your local liquor store or the wine menu at a restaurant can be intimidating. 

Whether you’re new to drinking wine, or have had a few glasses here-and-there, you’ll quickly realize that many types of wine exist. The most well-known are red, white, and rosé. But, what do those names even mean?

What’s the difference between red, white, rosé, and orange wines?

Red wines generally have a longer fermentation period so they develop a deeper color and stronger taste than other wines. 

“Red wine is made from red grapes or a blend of red and white grapes,” sommelier and founder of MYSA Natural Wine, Holly Berrigan, told 21Ninety.

White wine is made of white grapes or a mix of red and white grapes.

“[White wines] have a shorter fermentation period that produces a lighter color and crisper taste,” the sommelier noted. 

Berrigan says Rosé, a summer staple, is made from red grapes (or a blend of red and white again), with a shorter fermentation period that produces a pink color and lighter taste.

Orange wines (yes, it’s a thing) aren’t made from oranges. They’re made from white grapes (or a mix of white and red grapes) but have a specific amount of grape skin contact that gives this type of wine an amber hue.

How to pick the best wine for beginners

As you explore the vast world of adult grape juice, feel free to go with what you think tastes the best. The sommelier says a good quality wine will have balanced flavors, aromas, and a decent length of finish.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from wine experts or staff at wine shops and restaurants,” Berrigan stated.

The sommelier recommended keeping track of wines you like, that way you can know what you want to drink in the future.

“Pay attention to food and wine pairings to enhance your dining experience [too],” Berrigan noted.

Lastly, the sommelier mentioned that a great ABV (alcohol by volume) to look out for in a wine for beginners is from 10 to 13 percent – which is on the lower side when compared to other alcoholic beverages. 

“This range may be easier to handle for those who are new to wine. . . it’s important to note that the ABV can vary depending on the type and style of wine, so it’s important to check the label before making a selection,” Berrigan warned.

Ahead, shop red, white, rosé, and orange best wine for beginners that are all under 13 percent ABV.

White wine

Photo Courtesy of Total Wine

Olema’s Sauvignon Blanc Loire 2021 is a crisp white wine with an ABV of 12 percent. The French wine emits notes of white peach, orange, and green-apple. If you’re a seafood connoisseur, definitely give this one a try. 

Red wine

Photo Courtesy of Wine

Ziobaffa’s Organic Toscana 2018 is an Italian red wine with an ABV of 12.5 percent. Along with earthy notes, expect to taste orange peel, sour cherry, and a hint of spice. This wine is perfect for meat eaters who need a hearty wine to go with their favorite savory dish.

Rosé wine

Photo Courtesy of Wine

Don’t let the rose-shaped bottle fool you. The Rosé 2021 by Cote des Roses is beautiful both in and out. This French wine has a bright fruity floral mix of notes. At 13 percent ABV, enjoy the notes of rose alongside fresh fruit flavors like watermelon and cranberries.

Orange wine

Photo Courtesy of Mysa Natural Wine

Old Westminster’s Dream On 2021 is a refreshing orange wine. Taste notes of blood oranges, mangoes, guavas, and grapefruit peels with every sip. This wine goes great with grilled foods or by itself over ice. It has an ABV of 10 percent.

Canned wine variety pack

Photo Courtesy of Maker Wine

If you don’t even know where to start with wine, try the Maker Best-Sellers Mixed Pack. One box has six cans of red, white, and rosé wine. The sparkling sauvignon blanc (white wine) has an ABV of 10 percent, while the pinot noir (red wine) and rosé wine each have a 13 percent ABV.

All of the wines are made in the USA by women and/or minority-led wineries. The red wine (made by Handley Cellars) and the rosé (made by Ser Winery) are woman led. The white wine (made by Bodkin Wines) is Black-founded.

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