My Family Owns a Wine Shop and These Are the 6 Biggest Mistakes We See People Make

published Aug 1, 2021
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woman holding wine bottle
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When my cousin (hi, Regina!) announced that she was opening a wine store in the heart of downtown Detroit, I was both excited and nervous. While I’d certainly enjoyed my fair share of wine, I wasn’t an expert. And in my family, when one person does something, we all do it. So I knew I needed to learn a lot more about wine — quickly. The shop, House of Pure Vin, is now six years old and I can confidently say that I can not only speak intelligently about wine, but also spot the mistakes that our customers make. No judging — I’m here to help! Which brings me to this list.

These are the six biggest mistakes we see people make — and what we recommend instead.

1. Shoppers turn their noses up at blends.

We see a lot of people scoff at the mere mention of the word “blend” on a bottle. Meaning, they’d rather buy, say, cabernet sauvignon than a red blend. But the master sommeliers at House of Pure Vin encourage customers not to get too caught up in how “pure” a wine is. Passing on a wine just because it’s a blend is a good way to miss out on some of the best wines!

2. Shoppers don’t ask enough questions.

The staff is there for a reason — not just to ask for your ID and make you feel young during check-out. (Although that’s always a fun perk!) Ask them questions. They actually want to answer them — I promise. Ask about a specific bottle, ask about their favorites, ask what they suggest to go with whatever meal you’re planning, tell them what you like and ask for similar suggestions. You get the point. Also, don’t be afraid to tell them what you do not like! That can help guide things, too.

3. Shoppers don’t have the right glassware at home.

Okay, it’s not like I can see your cabinets or anything, but this one is just something I’ve gathered from chatting with customers. And I get it: I used to just reach for the closest bottle and the closest cup. I didn’t think it mattered all that much. But it does. Having the right glass really does help make your wine taste better.

4. Shoppers stick to the popular stuff.

There are some brands that are buzzier than others. But guess what? Wine isn’t a popularity contest. You don’t have to drink something just because you’ve seen it on Instagram or TikTok. Don’t run into a store just to grab a bottle you recognize and run out. If you do like something that’s popular, ask the shop pro to recommend something similar and try something new.

5. Shoppers don’t think about the food they’re eating with the wine.

Remember when I was talking about how shoppers should ask more questions? One of the greatest reasons to visit a wine store and chat it up with a pro is to learn about the pairing process. Whether you’re having seafood, steak, or you’re going full-out Olivia Pope and just having a glass with a bowl of popcorn, chances are there’s a perfect wine for the night.

6. Shoppers buy wine at the grocery store.

Sure, you can get a perfectly fine bottle of wine at the grocery store (depending on the laws where you live). And, yes, I said you should be considering what you’ll be eating with the bottle you ultimately open. But I’ve found that it’s best to hit up a local wine shop instead of the grocery store aisle. (And it doesn’t even have to be my family’s shop!) For one, the selection will be better. And there’s sure to be an expert on hand to answer questions. I also find it really difficult to pick out a good bottle of wine when I’m also worrying about whether or not I remembered to get all the produce I needed.

Related: I’m a Certified Wine Expert and This Is the Only Bottle I’ll Buy at the Grocery Store