Sign up for the Daily Sip

Your daily dose of wine knowledge.
Fun, short emails featuring wines, winemakers, regions, gadgets and more.

Email Address

Appreciating Quality


Great wines have the power to leave you guessing far beyond the last drop. Inexpensive table wines are meant to be quaffable and simple, but the goal of a maker of fine wines is to create wines that have many, many layers that keep you coming back sip after sip.


One of the best ways, however costly, to grow grapes that are packed with flavor is to limit the yield of the vine. Planting vines close together forces the vines to compete with one another. The more stressed a vine is by being so close to another, the more energy it focuses into its own production - it puts its energy into its grapes, concentrating them with flavor and intensity.

Grapes that have been nurtured, or actually stressed, in this way tend to produce wines with dense, concentrated aromas and flavors. It shows that the winemaker values quality over bulk, and also tends to fetch a higher price.

Length of Finish

In general, the longer the finish, the better the wine. Of course, if the taste that lingers on your palate is that of bananas and sauerkraut, you’ve found an exception. The best wines keep expressing themselves long after leaving the mouth.

Balance and Harmony

A wine is harmonious when its alcoholic strength, acidity, residual sugar, and tannins complement one another in such a way that no one element sticks out in the wine.


The best wines display characteristics typical to their region of origin, grape variety, and vintage. In a word, terroir. Great wines are expressions of their soils, environments, climates, and the grapes and people that made them.

Do not be alarmed if you experience an overwhelming urge to lick your glass.