Wine 101: What's the Best Wine for Beginners?

Are you interested in trying wine for the first time but unsure where to start?

This article covers several sippers that are a great introduction to the world of wine. 

Below, you will find wine basics for each category, helping you choose the right one to begin your journey.

How to Choose Wine

While the type of wine depends mainly on personal taste, popular varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay continue to stand out as some of the best choices for beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike.

Wines vary by alcohol content or alcohol by volume (ABV), sweetness level, and structure.

Depending on your preference, you may want to start with slightly sweeter wines with a lower ABV, as these often make for easier tasting. Cooler-climate wines may also be in your best interest, as they won’t be as bold as warmer-climate wines.

Now that we know some basics for choosing wine, let’s look at some of the best red wines for beginners.

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Best Red Wine for Beginners

A straightforward classic for beginners, red wine offers a range of fruity flavors and styles from dry to off-dry.


One of the best dry wines for newbies is the light and fruity Rosé. Although technically a blush wine, this sipper is made from red wine grapes. The main difference is that the grape skins are left to soak in the juice for only a few hours, giving Rosé its pink hue. 

Overall, we recommend lighter Rosé for aspiring wine drinkers. 

Pinot Noir

One of the most accessible red wines to drink for its low tannins, light body, and fruity nature, Pinot Noir is a great red wine to start with. If you’re typically accustomed to sparkling and Rosé wines, Pinot Noir is a slightly heavier, dry red wine that still tastes almost sweet due to its prominent cranberry and raspberry notes.


Slightly more tannic and robust than Pinot Noir, Merlot is iconic for its smooth, velvet, nature, and dark red fruit flavors. The wine boasts French origins, with a name that means “blackbird,” for the birds often found in the vineyards. With cherry, plum, and vanilla notes, Merlot is exceptionally smooth when grown in a cool climate like California or Washington.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The most popular red in the world of wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, is a flawless balance of juicy dark fruit notes, a smooth palate, and vanilla and spice flavors. The tannins of this wine are more potent than Merlot, which gives it a resemblance to tea or coffee in texture. The acidity of Cabernet Sauvignon is considered medium with some heat from its alcohol content of 13% ABV.

Let’s look at some of the best white wines for beginners.

Best White Wine for Beginners

Often lighter than red wine, white wine is popular for its refreshing qualities.


Ripe with tropical fruit aromas and flavors, citrus, stone fruit notes, and iconic acidity, Riesling has a reputation as a sweet wine. However, this varietal is incredibly versatile and ranges from very dry to very sweet. Seek out sweeter versions if you’re new to wine.

Sauvignon Blanc

A crowd-pleaser for spring and summer, Sauvignon Blanc is light, crisp, and refreshingly acidic. This dry white wine is heavily influenced by climate and terroir (soil type), which lends to its versatility. Notable varietals are those from New Zealand, which boast a distinct grassy note. French Sauvignon Blanc is also popular amongst wine drinkers, with crushed rock and floral aromas. Overall, look for cooler climate Sav Blanc when first sampling wine, as these will have the most refreshing taste. 

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One of the most popular white wines in the world, Chardonnay is known for its crisp and buttery styles. Depending on the fermentation process, Chardonnay will either be oaky with vanilla undertones or refreshing with tropical fruit notes. Heavier Chardonnays are fermented in oak barrels, giving them that rich, dessert-like texture. On the other hand, brighter Chardonnays are usually fermented in steel vats to preserve their refreshing qualities. 

Seek out warm climate Chardonnays for something heavier and cool climate Chardonnays if you prefer a light bodied wine.

Pinot Grigio

Another good wine for beginners is Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris), with crisp textures and ripe pear, peach, citrus, green apple, honey, and spice notes. Pinot Grigio is another wine that tastes almost sweet but isn’t, although it’s available in sweeter varietals as well. 

Let’s move on to some sweeter sippers. 

Best Sweet Wines for Beginners

Sweet wines are excellent sippers for beginners, as they often have the most effortless textures and lowest alcohol content.

Sweet Riesling

Bursting with sugary flavors and pineapple, peach, and honey notes, sweet Riesling is excellent as a beginner’s dessert wine. 

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One of the most popular sweet German wines, Gewürztraminer is perfumery and aromatic with unique flavors like lychee and ginger. While this white wine is fuller in body, its very low acidity makes it an easy sipper.

Moscato d’Asti

The darling dessert wine of Northern Italy, Moscato d’Asti, sometimes gets a bad rap for being cheap or poorly made. On the contrary, this wine has quickly earned the DOCG label in its country of origin, which is the highest honor a wine can get. Moscatos are usually very low in alcohol, with just 5-6% per volume. It boasts aromatic stone fruit, orange blossom, citrus, and honey flavors, making it a very easy sipper for beginners. 


Another Italian star hailing from the Emilia-Romagna wine region, Lambrusco is a sweet red wine available in both fizzy (frizzante) and still styles. It boasts cherry, cranberry, strawberry, and floral notes. If you love a low-key sparkler, Lambrusco is one of the top sweet red wines for beginners. 


Another light sipper from Northern Italy, Prosecco is ripe with fruity and floral notes and a touch of creaminess. With an effervescence similar to Champagne, Prosecco gets its refreshing qualities from steel tank fermentation and the Charmat method, which involves a second fermentation in a pressured tank. 

Braschetto d’Acqui

From the Piedmont region comes the semi-sparkling Italian gem, Braschetto d’Acqui. With a touch of bubbles, balanced sweetness, and a lower alcohol level of around 5-6% ABV, this wine also claimed its DOCG label in 1996, making it a top sipper. It boasts bright strawberry and lush blackberry flavors, perfect for easy tasting.

Ready to Begin Your Wine Journey?

For your first bottle of wine, why not try one of the many premium selections over at our Wine Shop?

Here, you will find an array of wines from several regions for amazingly affordable prices and easy shipping. 

For more information on wine, check out The Wine Blog.

Let Macy’s Wine Shop be your guide as you begin your journey into the remarkable world of wine!