5 Things You Need to Know About Wine

Here are 5 Things You Need to Know About Wine, by John Nicol
3 Minute Read

1. Flavours in Wine are Natural, Not Added

When you read a wine label and come across phrases like “notes of pears, cherries, honey, or cassis”, it’s important to understand that these are descriptions of the flavours present in the wine, not a list of added ingredients. Some people mistakenly believe that these flavours are artificially infused into the wine, but that’s not the case at all.

Wine possesses the unique ability to adopt aromas and tastes that go beyond the typical grape profile. Wine can mimic the essence of various fruits and spices, such as berries, apples, pears, honey, cassis, pepper, mushrooms and many many more.

Fruits 5 Things You Should Know About Wine

Rest assured, all the flavours within wine are derived solely from grapes and the fermentation process.

2. Most Wines are Blended With Other Grape Varieties

When you purchase a wine labeled as a specific grape varietal, like Pinot Grigio or Riesling, it means that the majority of the grapes used to make that wine belong to the named varietal. However, it’s quite common for winemakers to blend in other grape varieties as well.

For instance, if you buy a VQA certified Merlot in Ontario, at least 75% of that wine consists of Merlot grapes, while the remaining 25% may be composed of different grape varieties to add complexity and character.

3. Red Wine Can Be Sweet

A prevalent misconception is that all red wines are heavy, bold, and tart, but this is far from the truth.


Some red wines can be pleasantly sweet, fruity, and light, depending on the winemaking process. While the wine industry tends to produce red wines with lower sweetness levels, there are wineries that creatively challenge these norms and expectations by crafting delightful, sweet red wines. It’s worth exploring these options to see if you enjoy the unique experience they offer.

4. Avoid Relying on the Internet for Wine Pairings

When seeking wine pairings for specific dishes, it’s advisable to take suggestions from the internet with a grain of salt. Every wine possesses its own distinct characteristics, and even wines from the same region or made from the same grapes can exhibit a considerable variation in taste.

For instance, two Pinot Noir wines from different wineries may have entirely different flavour profiles. Similarly, while some may say Pinot Noir pairs well with lasagna, it’s essential to recognize that individual tastes vary. The best way to find the perfect pairing is through personal experimentation and tasting.

5. Aging Doesn’t Always Guarantee Better Quality

There’s a common belief that older wines are inherently superior to younger ones, but this isn’t universally true. Several factors come into play when considering aging potential.

White wine, for instance, is rarely better when aged for an extended period, as it tends to lose its flavour within five or six years. On the other hand, red wine can benefit from aging for 10+ years, but this doesn’t mean all red wines should be aged. Aging affects the tannins in wine, and by reducing their strength, other complex and nuanced flavours in the wine become more prominent.

The transformation in taste can range from a tart or bitter profile in young wine to a sweeter, fruitier, or earthier flavour in aged wine. It’s always wise to consult with the winery staff to determine whether a particular wine should be cellared and for how long.

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