A beginners guide to wine

Here at Joseph Wendt Custom Clothiers, we love two great things in this world: superb clothing and fine wines. We even sell hand blown wine glasses in our showroom! There’s nothing quite like getting a new bottle of wine, cracking it open, smelling the cork, and pouring that first glass.

Now, if you’re a beginner to wine, or just want to understand it a little better, you’re in luck! This guide is about helping you make sense of the types of wines, what to pair them with, and common terminology.

Types of Wines


This graphic from Wine Folly illustrates the common types of white and red wines, as well as their shades. Chardonnay is much darker than Riesling, Syrah is a bit darker than Pinot Noir. These are just 8 of the over 1,300 types of wine grape varieties! Wine Folly has a chart that showcases the many types of wines (see below).



Not all wine glasses are created equal. It’s been found that the right glass will make wine taste better! Check out this article on the basics of serving wine.


Wine Folly

This chart showcases the 6 common glasses: standard, flute, tulip, coupe, hook, and tumbler, and which one is best for certain varieties of wine.

Taste Test

Do you know how to describe the taste of wine, or do you tend to use all the same terms: earthy, dry, etc? This article shows you 4 steps for how to properly taste wine.

Pairing Wine & Food

One of the arts of wine is to properly pair it with your meal. Here are a few tips to use:

  • Don’t mix bitter wine with bitter food
  • The wine should be sweeter than the food
  • Pairing an earthy wine with something more earthy can make the wine taste fruity

Wine Folly

Use this helpful chart from Wine Folly to determine how to best pair your next meal with the right wine.

How to Order at a Restaurant

Do you know how to properly order and approve wine while at a restaurant?

  1. Ask to verify the bottle and ensure it’s the one you ordered
  2. Check the cork to see if the producer label is printed on it
  3. Make sure the wine is not flawed
    – If the wine smells like wet cardboard, it could be from mold on the cork
    – If wine is left in heat over 90 degrees it can smell like jam
    – Wine that isn’t properly sealed will turn to vinegar

Cocktail Recipes Every Gentleman Should Know


As a true gentleman, you should be well dressed, possess the best of manners, and know how to mix the perfect drink. Even if you abstain from alcohol, it never hurts to know the finer points of mixology. People consume alcohol for various reasons: to unwind, relax, let loose, meet others, socialize, or to enjoy the flavors.

We’re going to show you how to mix some common (and not so common) drinks so you can be the perfect party host or guest at your next soiree.

The drink of 007 is quite easy to concoct.
– 2.5 oz Gin
-.5 oz dry vermouth
– Garnish like olives or lemon twist
Mix the gin and vermouth in a shaker with ice, then stir and strain into a glass. Add your garnishes and enjoy. (Recipe from The Distilled Man)

Moscow Mule
For this you will need an infamous copper mug.
– 1.5 oz Vodka
– .5 oz fresh lime juice
– .25 oz simple syrup
– Ginger beer
– Lime wedges to garnish
“Lightly shake vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Add ginger beer and shake. Serve in a copper mug and garnish with lime wedge.” (Recipe from Delish)

Old Fashioned
There’s nothing out of fashion with this classic cocktail.
– 1 scant teaspoon simple syrup
– 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
– 1 half dollar sized orange peel
– 2 oz Rye or Bourbon
– 1 Cherry
“In old-fashioned glass, combine simple syrup and bitters. Fill glass halfway with ice, then stir about a dozen times. Add enough ice to fill glass. Squeeze orange peel over glass to extract oils, add peel to glass, and add whiskey. Stir just until drink is cold and alcoholic bite has softened, about a dozen times. Garnish with cherry, swizzle stick, and straw.” (Recipe from Epicurious)

Classic Manhattan
– .75 oz sweet vermouth
– 2.5 oz Bourbon Whiskey
– 1 dash Angostura Bitters
– 1 Cherry
– 1 Twist orange Peel
“Combine the vermouth, bourbon whiskey, and bitters with 2 – 3 ice cubes in a mixing glass. Stir gently, don’t bruise the spirits and cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils but don’t drop it in.” (Recipe from Drinksmixer.com)

White Russian
A perfect nightcap to end the day.
– 2 oz Vodka
– 1 oz Coffee liquer
– Light cream
“Pour vodka and coffee liqueur over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass. Fill with light cream and serve.” (Recipe from Drinksmixer.com)

If you’re not sure what cocktail to drink, follow this useful guide.

pick cocktail