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Choosing wine for any occasion other than for yourself can be a little intimidating at times. First dates, dinner with your boss, a 30th birthday, all momentous times that call for different drops. Add in the menagerie of regions, varietals, blends, bubbles, biodynamic, vintage/ non-vintage, it’s no wonder many people end up going for the label that looks the best. But does it always taste the best and suit the required occasion? While there shouldn’t really be any hard and fast rules when it comes to selecting wine, sometimes it would be nice if there was, right? We took it upon ourselves to do the hard work for you. Here are some ‘gentle’ guidelines on choosing wine for the right occasion.

1. Dinner Parties

Is there any greater reward than a good glass of wine? Perhaps only a good glass of wine matched perfectly to a great meal. Of course, this is far less baffling than choosing a wine for your Grandma’s 90th birthday, but choosing the right wine for a dinner party will still carry a weight of difference. Take into account what you might be eating and what ingredients will be used. As a rule of thumb, whites always go great with lighter flavoured meals, red’s prefer meatier dishes and for everything in between choose Pinot Noir or a pale Rosé. If you’re still stuck, check out our tips on hosting a dinner party and dive straight into tip number 5.

2. Life’s great moments

This point may be clearer than a crisp chardonnay but life’s great occasions - anniversaries, graduations, engagements - without doubt call for champagne or a bottle that is either already aged or will age if it’s a gift. Heavy, earthy reds (Shiraz or Malbec) that burst with tannin in your mouth are great memory makers. Whatever you choose it doesn’t need to break the bank but when it comes to bubbles a more well known Champagne House is always a safer bet.

3. Cheap can be cheerful

Like we said above, expensive wine does not make a lasting memory, so no need to think with your wallet. With today’s abundance of wine imports and an array of local drops in Australia, we have access to great quality wines at a fair price, both online and at your local boutique wine shop. Tempranillo, Viognier, Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel: all great drops you can pick up without missing your rent.

4. Hallmark birthdays

If you ask us a good wine is an occasion on its own and birthdays are just a great excuse to drink it! But, when it comes to the much celebrated 21st or maybe your dad’s 60th birthday, it’s nice to select a bottle that both regards and reflects them as a person.

Firstly stick to their preferences - don’t buy them a Merlot or a Nebbiolo if they like hearty reds. Check out our guide on gifting the perfect tipple to get you started. 

5. Don’t be afraid to experiment

If you do drink wine a lot or you’re just someone that flies by the seam of your pants, don’t be afraid to shake things up a little. Casual get togethers are the perfect place to impress with a new varietal. Step out of your comfort zone and try a Godello, the white grape from Spain or a Monica, the traditional table wine from Sardinia that’s perfectly paired with fish. 

6. Ask yourself, would you like it?

Whether it’s a casual dinner party or your partner finally got that promotion, chances are that if the wine sits well with you then it will swill, sip and savour well with others too. At best you should remember that if it’s meant to be enjoyed then and there go for a young wine not destined to age. At the end of the day, if no one likes it, then you’ve just scored yourself your own bottle of wine for the evening. 

Still got no idea what you’re doing? No problems, peruse our selection of finely curated wines.

Receive 15% off your first order when you sign up to MoCU.

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