Wine is an absorbing hobby. The vast range of wine styles, the many thousands of different producers, the hundreds of different grape varieties, and the differences apparent between each vintage and the next all conspire to maintain the interest of even the most ardent geek. But this complexity, which in truth keeps us all novices, can be off-putting to the wine newbie.

Learn About Wine: my 'introduction to wine course' with a difference, in blog format

Go into any decent-sized wine store and you will encounter a bewildering array of wines to choose from.

If you are going to make anything other than blind guesswork the basis of your buying strategy, then you'll need some advice on where to start. But, in the world of wine there are many potential sources of advice—it seems that just about everyone has an opinion—and while many of these are reliable, some are not. Here, I try to point you towards wise counsel, and throw in a few tips of my own.

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