Despite its longstanding and widespread popularity, the taste of wine isn’t always universally loved. In fact, some say it’s an acquired taste—and we agree! Not everyone enjoys the tannin-rich, tart, and complex flavors of this classical beverage. But that doesn’t mean you have to be excluded from every wedding toast or tasting event. And that’s where we come in: with this guide that covers all the best wines for non-drinkers.
While there certainly are some heavier wines, this type of beverage can be found in a wide variety of textures, colors, and flavors—many of which are as juicy, fruity, and light as you like.
If you are part of the non-wine-drinker category, don’t worry, there are ways to get around it. Wine is an incredibly diverse form of alcohol that can be found in many different flavors and aromatic profiles, some of which you may be surprised at how much you like.
If the world of wine is a mystery and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! Our top tips for choosing lighter wines that every non-drinker should try makes enjoying a glass or two easy.
Who knows, once you know more about grape varieties, flavor profiles, and what each type of wine tastes like, you may even become a bit of an oenophile!
Your wine journey starts here.
5 Tips For Choosing Wine For Non-Wine Drinkers
If you’re not used to drinking wine, it can be difficult to know what to look for in a bottle. While every bottle tends to display the wine’s year and its type and perhaps a very short description, this doesn’t give too much away unless you’re well-versed in the subject.
Next time you’re feeling confused when facing a choice of wines, follow these five tips:
- Pick a white wine – Although there are certainly some delicious red wines, those in the white variety tend to be lighter and easier on the tongue. Often citrusy, dry, and not too sweet, white wines are more likely to suit a fussy palate as they’re not as intense.
- Ask questions – Waitrons and liquor store attendants can help you to make a more informed decision, especially if you’re buying a bottle of wine. Ask them for recommendations about gentler wine varieties, and take their advice. If there’s a sommelier on duty, even better! They can guide you towards choosing a wine that best suits your tastes.
- Have your wine chilled – While mulled wine can be a decadent and rather rich treat, a chilled glass of wine can go down much easier for those who don’t often partake. If your wine is served at room temperature, ask for a chilled glass and don’t be afraid to ask for ice, even if it’s a glass of red! While many people frown at putting ice in red wine, if it makes it more palatable for you, go for it. Not only will it chill the drink, but it will also dilute it a little, making the flavors of the wine less intense.
- Go to a tasting – Wine tasting is one of the easiest ways to try out lots of different varieties of wines at once. It’s the best place to find out all about different wines too, and to find out about new wines/ You can sip your way through red, rosé, and white or you can stick to one of these types of wine and try different options in each category. For example, if you opt for a white wine tasting you can try sweet, semi-sweet and dry wines one after another to compare them. A tasting pour is also only a small one, so you don’t have to commit to drinking a whole glass. Here’s a photo of my husband and me at our first tasting together 4 years ago.
- Try something new – You might be surprised by how much you like the wines you haven’t tried yet. Ask for a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. You never know if you don’t try them all. Be experimental and bold. The worst is that you’ll discover they’re simply not for you and you prefer sweeter white wines like Moscato d’asti or dessert wines like those produced in New Zealand or the Napa Valley.
When it comes down to it, finding a wine that you like may take some trial and error. But it’s worth it once you hit that sweet spot. If you’re still feeling uncertain about where to begin your new wine-tasting journey, take a look at the following list of wines recommended for non-wine drinkers.
The Best Wines For Non-Wine Drinkers
Endlessly popular, Chardonnay is a white wine that pleases crowds across the world. With flavors like fresh pear, lemon, ginger, melon, vanilla, and apricot, it is hard not to like this refreshing light-bodied wine. This wine is aged in oak barrels and its signature oaky taste adds to its appeal.
What makes Chardonnay a great option for non-wine drinkers is the fact that it is so widely available. You can find it at almost every restaurant or wine farm, giving you an easy choice next time you’re not sure what to order. Plus, even seasoned wine drinkers appreciate its fruity notes, so it’s the perfect wine to please everyone.
Riesling is a light and fruity white wine that is widely considered one of the best options for people who don’t really enjoy the taste or consume wine on a regular basis.
Its flavor is on the sweeter side and it’s an extremely delicate and aromatic wine, producing notes of vanilla, peaches, and orange zest. As one of the fruity wines, its texture is light and crisp, perfect for warm summer days or enjoying with a fresh plate of seafood.
Pinot Grigio—not to be confused with Pinot Noir which we cover next, or Pinot Gris, its sweeter, low acidity cousin—is another refreshingly light wine, but drier and less like sweeter wines such as Riesling or Chardonnay.
A delicious beginner wine, this white wine has a mild flavor with tasting notes of green apple, citrus, and stone fruit. However, its neutrality is part of what makes it popular amongst beginner wine drinkers. It’s a fruit-forward wine with a light body, and it goes down easily with a variety of light, summery dishes such as salads, chicken, and seafood.
The use of Pinot Noir grapes in winemaking dates all the way back to 1375. So, it’s safe to say that this is a great choice that’s stood the test of time! The red version of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir is one of the lightest red wines you can find on a menu and its low tannin content makes it a winner too. Deemed one of the “safest” red wines, Pinot Noir may be dark in color, but its flavor is juicy and light.
With a lower alcohol content than usual, a glass or two of Pinot Noir goes down beautifully with most savory dishes. This dry red wine is a great first foray into the world of richer beverages and a great place to start for any non-drinker looking to find their feet.
Who doesn’t love Prosecco? A little sweeter and more acidic than its sibling Champagne, Prosecco is bursting with lush fruity flavors such as summer berries, sour apple, melon, and pineapple.
With its gentle sparkling wine sensation, Prosecco is a fun drink that’s a delight to sip on. It’s one of the best white wines for a celebration, and like Champagne, you can mix it with fruit juices too. It’s become popular in recent years to serve Prosecco with brunch and to even make mimosas with it.
When you’re feeling ready to explore some slightly deeper reds, Lambrusco should be at the top of your list. Red wine lovers tend to adore Lambrusco as it’s not a sweet red wine but it’s one that has fruity flavors and a great depth of taste. This wine made from red grapes is rich in fruity aromas and flavor rather than alcoholic intensity, and you’ll taste blackberries, dark cherries, and more.
With a medium level of acidity, Lambrusco can still give you a solid depth of flavor without completely overwhelming your palate. It also acts as a palate cleanser so it’s the perfect pairing for a wide variety of foods from creamy pastas and red meats to strong cheeses and dark chocolate.
If this is your first wine, it’s an easy introduction to the wine world. Full of citrus zest and flair, Sauvignon Blanc is a delicious white wine variety that accompanies summer meals very well. It’s a favorite of new wine drinkers which is why we recommend it for first-timers, and it has a lovely crisp flavor.
You might taste fresh lime, florals, passion fruit, and white peach from this light-bodied wine. Pop a few cubes of ice in your glass, and you have a refreshing summertime drink. Or, mix it with soda water and enjoy it as a chilled spritzer.
A mellow and fruity red wine, Zinfandel holds all the rich flavors of red berries. It’s one of the best red wines for beginners and it has gorgeous jammy aromas of plum, black cherry, cinnamon, and black pepper. It’s not too intense and it’s far lighter than many other red wines.
You could also try white Zinfandel which, despite its name, isn’t a white wine at all. It’s actually a type of rosé that’s made using a similar process. However, unlike rosé wines, it’s not as dry. White Zinfandel suits those whose taste buds like a sweeter sensation as it bursts with flavors of cotton candy, melon, and berry. These fruit flavors make it one of the more easy-drinking wines and a great option for anyone who doesn’t drink much.
If the higher alcohol content of wine is what stops you from enjoying a glass but you still love the taste, then non-alcoholic wine is the perfect drink for you. Good wine doesn’t have to have alcohol in it. There is an abundance of non-alcoholic options on the market that are just as good as their alcoholic counterparts. You’ll find everything from full-bodied red wine to lighter white wine that’s got a 0% alcohol content.
These lighter wines are growing in popularity and new wines with no alcohol are regularly being produced. They’re the perfect choice for non-drinkers or anyone who is a red or white wine drinker but wants to avoid the effects of alcohol and not end up just drinking grape juice.
Verdict: The Best Wines for Non-Drinkers
At the end of the day, whether you choose to drink wine or not is a personal decision.
But if the only reason you avoid this drink is due to the fact that you find the flavors too intense, you’re in for some good news.
The great wines on this list have been specifically chosen to accommodate sensitive palates and allow you to enjoy the complex flavors of wine without causing you to wrinkle up your nose.
From sweet wines to light and fruity whites to mellow and comforting reds, every non-wine drinker should give these a try! Every wine tasting can be an experience that you enjoy, but it doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every type of wine.
After a few sips, you’ll know if you’re going in the right direction, or if the wine taste isn’t the right one for you. If this is the case, keep going. The wine world is an exciting one, but it’s certainly one you can ease yourself into if you’re not yet a fan.
And of course, you can always just opt for one of these delicious non-alcoholic wines too!
Which one of these options do you think is the best wine for non-drinkers? Are there other ones we should include in this guide? Please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear!!
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