11 Best Wines for Beginners: Sparkling, White, and Red Wines

best wine for beginners

If you are just starting your wine journey, it can be a little overwhelming considering there are so many different types of wines to choose from!

In fact, there are many overwhelming situations in the wine world:

  • How about when you walk into a wine store with thousands of bottles to choose from?
  • Or you’re staring at the restaurant’s wine list not knowing what to pick?

I’ve been there before, and sometimes I still don’t know which wine to choose =). Well then let’s get you started with a few beginner wines, so that you can ease into this amazing world of wine.

Table of Contents

Wine Tips For Beginners

  1. Start with the Basics: Begin by familiarizing yourself with the major types of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert wines. Each type has its own characteristics and is made from different varieties of grapes.

  2. Taste Everything: The best way to learn about wine is to taste as much as possible. Try wines from different countries, regions, and grape varieties to understand the diversity of flavors.

  3. Learn to Read Labels: Wine labels contain a lot of useful information about the wine inside the bottle, including the region of origin, the grape variety (or varietal), and sometimes the vineyard or producer. Understanding these can help you make informed choices.

  4. Understand Basic Pairings: Some basic knowledge of wine and food pairings can enhance both your dining experience and your appreciation of wine. As a rule of thumb, lighter wines like white wines and rosés pair well with lighter dishes, while fuller-bodied wines like reds pair well with heavier dishes.

  5. Serve Wine Properly: Temperature and glassware can significantly affect how a wine tastes. White wines are generally served cooler than red wines. Investing in some quality wine glasses can also enhance your tasting experience.

  6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions: Whether you’re in a wine shop, a restaurant, or at a tasting, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations or more information about a wine. Wine enthusiasts and professionals usually enjoy sharing their knowledge.

  7. Keep Notes: Keeping notes on the wines you’ve tasted can be very helpful. Note down the name, the grape variety, the region, and your own impressions of the taste, aroma, and appearance of the wine.

  8. Discover Your Own Taste: While scores and reviews can guide you to some extent, wine preference is highly subjective. Trust your own palate and preferences over popular opinion or high scores.

  9. Explore Wine Regions: If possible, visiting wine regions can be an incredibly enriching experience. It gives you a chance to learn directly from winemakers and see the vineyards where the grapes are grown.

  10. Be Open-Minded: The world of wine is vast and constantly evolving. Be open to trying new things, even if they seem out of your comfort zone.

What are Best Sparkling Wines for Beginners?

sweet sparkling wines

1) Prosecco

sparkling rose

Prosecco is always a good choice for beginners and seasoned wine drinkers. Because they are light-bodied with low alcohol content and a hint of sweetness to them.

Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine typically produced in Italy from the Glera grape. And it is light and refreshing, with aromas of citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit. Plus, they also have a floral aroma with slightly sweet notes, making it easy to love for beginner wine lovers. 

Recommendation: La Marca Prosecco is delicious, affordable, and high-quality Prosecco. Typically it’s not very sweet, but it has flavors of lemon, green apple, and grapefruit that will appeal to most people.

2) Sparkling Rosé

Sparkling Rosé is a Rosé wine with bubbles. Not an actual grape varietal but nonetheless its a type of wine to definitely try!

Sparkling Rose wines are made using red grapes (normally Pinot Noir), and the skin contact time is what gives the wine its pink color. And this sparkling wine is then blended with still red wine to achieve the desired sweetness level.

Again the slightly sweet, refreshing and crisp qualities of these wines make it a great beginner wine. And if you’re not a fan of bubbly wine, give a Rosé a try!

Recommendation: Cecilia Prosecco Rosé has aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. And it has a light body with a touch of sweetness, making it perfect for any occasion and for all wine drinkers.

Only ~$7 at Trader Joe’s!

What are Best White Wine for Beginners?

white wine for beginners

3) Moscato

Moscato is a sweet wine known for being sweet and fruity. And it’s probably one of the most famous beginner white wines because of its sweet taste. But also because it can be served as an aperitif, or paired with food, or a dessert, or a refreshing drink on its own.

Moscato comes in many different styles. It can be made as a still, sparkling, or fortified wine

Recommendation: Saracco Moscato is a light, refreshing, and slightly sparkling sweet wine. And it has aromas of peach and sweet apricots, with a hint of floral sweetness. 

4) Riesling

white wine with sushi wine with sushi

Riesling is a white wine that ranges from dry to sweet. And they are known for their aromas and flavors of green apple, citrus, tropical fruits, as well as stone fruits like peach and apricot.

Also Riesling wines are probably the most versatile food pairing wine. Because they can be paired with many different types of foods.

Rieslings can be made in different styles. Typically in the US, the dry wine will be labeled as a Dry Riesling. And “Off-dry” and “Medium” labels will typically mean the Rieslings that are sweeter wines.

An Off-dry/Medium sweet Riesling, is a great choice for a wine beginner.  Because the sweetness and fruity flavors with make the wine easy to drink and enjoy!

Recommendation: Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling is a versatile, easy to drink, sweet wine with flavors of green apple, peach, pear, and a hint of honey.

Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine with high acidity. And it’s this acidity that gives the wine a crisp and refreshing taste. Also, these wines are known for their aromas and flavors of citrus fruits, green apple, and herbal notes.

A Sauvignon blanc is a great starter wine because of it will introduce you to crisp fruit forward flavors, try to choose one from the New World (US or New Zealand). Perfect for a hot summer day!

Recommendation: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most famous and accessible white wines on the market. 

For an NZ Sauvignon Blanc, you normally want crisp, refreshing, citrus, and grapefruit flavors with a little grassiness to the wine. And this wine delivers all those qualities, and more, like a good price for any wine drinker. 

6) Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is an Italian dry white wine. And these wines are light-bodied with high acidity. They will have aromas and flavors of citrus fruits, stone fruits, and sometimes a hint of sweetness (Alsatian Pinot Gris).

Pinot Grigio is a great beginner wine because it’s easy to find, easy to drink, and most people like the crisp taste. Plus, you can discover a lot about how mouthwatering acidity in wine tastes in your mouth, and whether you enjoy it or not.

Recommendation: Ziobaffa Pinot Grigio is an elegant Italian Pinot Grigio, with a long and juicy aftertaste. Best served fresh!

7) Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a white wine that can range from unoaked and crisp to oaked and buttery. And this white wine has many aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, stone fruits, butter, and oak.

Trying a chardonnay is essential for any beginner wine drinker. And the taste of this white wine depends on its origin and production process, so it can vary significantly. Therefore, it’s important to notice the different flavors and figure out what you like.

A lot of people think they don’t like Chardonnay because they’ve had a bad experience with an over-oaked wine in the past. And if that’s you, then I would recommend choosing a Chardonnay from a cooler climate like Oregon or Washington State in the US. Or try a Chablis from France, which is 100% Chardonnay and usually unoaked.

Recommendation: Rombauer Chardonnay is one of the few Napa wineries known for their well-priced, easy to love Chardonnay that every wine enthusiast loves. 

What are the Best Red Wine for Beginners?

best red wine for beginners

8) Pinot Noir

pinot noir calories pinot noir red wine pinot noir red wine general nutrition advice general nutrition advice red wine red wine food contributes

Pinot Noir is a dry red wine that is light to medium bodied with high acidity. And the wine has aromas and flavors of red fruits, black fruits, and sometimes earthiness.

A Pinot Noir wine is generally considered as one of the best red wines for beginners because it’s lighter than most red wines with red fruit flavors. Some Pinot Noirs have an earthiness to them, so you can see if that’s a flavor profile you enjoy.

Also Pinot Noirs are not only known for being great beginner wines but also some of the best red wines in the world that any wine enthusiast or wine lover would enjoy.

Recommendation: Meiomi Pinot Noir is a super smooth, fruit forward wine that is enjoyable to drink! Very accessible and very affordable, give it a try!

9) California Red Blends

A California Red Blend is also one of the best wine for beginners. It’s a mixture of grapes, which is generally a blend of two or three red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Petit Sirah.

California red blends are generally fruit-forward, smooth, and easy to drink. Therefore, it’s just a great wine to try if you’re looking to introduce yourself to red wines.

Recommendation: Conundrum Red Blend is made by Caymus Vineyards, known for producing some of the best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine that receives 100% approval rate from my past guests (from beginners to wine connoisseurs). Must try!

10) Merlot

Merlot is a medium to full bodied wine that has soft, dark fruit forward flavors, and medium tannins. And it’s generally smooth and not harsh with the tannins (like Cabernet, for example). Also, it’s more affordable than a Cab, and it’s a great wine to develop a wine beginner’s palate.

You’ll find different intensities of flavors depending on the where the wine was produced, so it’s a good wine to start exploring with.

Recommendation: L’ecole No.41 Merlot is a fun, ‘drink-me-now’ red wine that will keep you reaching for a second glass. It’s a perfect food wine as well. And its a perfect representation of the quintessential Washington Merlot.

11) Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a red wine that has jammy fruit flavors with some spice. And it’s typically medium to full bodied with high alcohol content.

This is another wine that’s good for beginners because it’s fruit forward and easy to drink with a hint of pepper/spice. Plus, it’s a wine that you can enjoy on its own or with food. And its considered as California’s heritage grape!

Recommendation: Saldo Zinfandel is one of best reviewed Zinfandels. It’s serious and bold but still approachable. If you want to broaden your wine palate, this bottle is a great introduction to CA Zinfandel with its silky smoothness and jammy dark fruit, and well-balanced flavors throughout.

White Wine Sweetness Chart

white wine sweetness chart white wine

Red Wine Sweetness Chart

red wine sweetness chart


Whether sparkling, white, or red wines, give all types of wines a chance on your wine journey – you may be surprised at what you like! And don’t worry, the more wine you drink, the more of an expert you become.

So if you’re new to wine drinking, or just looking to try something new, be sure to check out our best wine for beginners list. You’re sure to find one that you’ll love!