10 Questions About Wine You May Be Afraid To Ask

Posted By Don Sumner on Feb 23, 2015 |

Whether you’ve just started drinking wine, or have been imbibing for years, here are some questions that may come up for you…and their answers.


  1. Is bringing my own bottle of wine to a restaurant really okay?
  2. Where is the best place to keep my wine?
  3. I’m completely lost when it comes to food and wine pairing. What should I do?
  4. When a wine is described as having “berry” or “gingerbread” aromas, what does that mean?
  5. I feel confused or embarrassed about ordering wine in a restaurant. Please help?
  6. What’s a good wine to bring to a friend’s party or dinner?
  7. Which of my wines should I age, and for how long?
  8. What do I need to know before I go wine tasting?
  9. I see shelf tags in the supermarket that say a wine’s gotten a high score. Does that mean I should buy it?
  10. What’s the most romantic wine?


  1. Of course! The reason that some restaurants have a corkage fee is to make sure that they’re still making profit from all bottles of wine being consumed on their premises. Love your own? Bring your own!
  2. Best: If your budget allows, a wine refrigerator. Next best: A cool basement. Third idea: an interior closet or pantry (it won’t heat up from sharing a wall with the outdoors). Avoid regular refrigerators (they’ll chill the wine too much and for long-term storage, they’ll stop wines from maturing), or cupboards in the kitchen (too warm).
  3. You’ve come to the right place! First of all, pair what you like to drink with what you like to eat. Really. It may not be “perfect” according to connoisseurs, but it’s your taste and your pleasure. Second, if you’d like some more information, search for “pairing” here on our website, and you’ll find a range of helpful articles.
  4. As you drink (and smell) more wines, these types of descriptors start to make more sense. The scents are subtle but distinct, and associating them with other aromas that we’re familiar with helps build a sense-memory over time. Descriptors help you put words to the wine you’re tasting, and also help you describe what you’ve experienced to another person! Check out our wine aroma wheel for common descriptors.
  5. The easiest? Ask the sommelier or waiter for a suggestion. That can lead to trying new wines and finding new favorites. Another option: go online and check out the restaurant’s menu, then google around for ideas. There are also some great apps that can give you suggestions.
  6. This depends entirely on the event. The best idea is to ask your friend what s/he’ll be serving, do a little research, either online or at a wine shop, and bring some wines that will work well with the menu.
  7. Here’s another question that’s best answered by a professional. Call the winery that made the wine, ask your local wine shop, or go online and research, to find out if—and for how long—you should be aging the wines you own.
  8. Don’t swallow, and pace yourself! Plan on visiting no more than four wineries in a day. More, and your memories will all run together, your feet will be killing you, and your palate will be exhausted. Besides, you want to enjoy a special dinner at the end of the day, and if you’re badly tipsy you won’t really taste it.
  9. First, it helps to know if it’s a type of wine you already like. If you love Zinfandel and there’s a bottle in your price range that’s gotten a great score…try it!
  10. Champagne! Just kidding. Champagne is a big favorite, but the most romantic wine is one that you both love, and that will pair well with any food you may be eating. Sumner Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé, for instance, pairs beautifully with rich, cheesy dishes. The most romantic wine is one that reminds you of past vacations, or wonderful events, or special moments. The most romantic wine is one that you share with someone you love.