Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching, so it’s time to start thinking about wine. A good wine can give your date a sophisticated feel; the right kind of wine also elevates food’s flavour. But for some, picking a suitable wine can be a challenge. Here are some tips to make your special time a little bit simpler…

  • Know the basics: The most popular types of white wine are Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The most popular types of red wine are Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
  • If you’re going to a restaurant, look up the menu online at home beforehand so you have a better idea of your options and price-range.
  • Remember that just because a wine store is large, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Smaller stores are sometimes more diligent about what they carry and the staff are often more helpful. At the store, tell the staff what you’ll be eating and what your budget is, and they should steer you in the right direction.
  • Note that the best wines usually have the name of their maker on the bottle (because the maker is proud enough to put it there)!
  • Top tip for those on a budget: Jacob’s Creek, Yalumba, Hardys, De Bortoli, Angove and McWilliams provide good wine in the $7-$15 price range. Large retailers like Liquorland, Dan Murphy’s and Cellarbrations always need lots of wine to sell, but if they get the numbers wrong, you could score some great wine for a cheaper price.
  • Champagne or Prosecco are the perfect way to start dinner.
  • Pair seafood with Sauvignon Blanc. Spicy or fried foods go well with Riesling. Pasta with white sauce goes well with Chardonnay. Pair steak with Cabernet or Merlot. Lamb goes well with Shiraz. Veal goes well with fruity reds. Pair dessert with Port.
  • For an extra romantic touch, custom gift wrap a bottle of wine: cut some decorative paper large enough to wrap around the bottle, add a cute written message, and tie with a ribbon. OR make your partner a painted personalised wine glass.

You’ve still got time! Before Valentine’s Day arrives, if you really want to impress your special someone, try out different wines and discover what you like.