If you’re not a fan of wine, never fear. Neither was I.
I originally avoided the drink, preferring a crisp beer over what I’d believed to be a nose burn in a glass. When wine wasn’t too strong in flavor? It was too strong in alcohol content. This turned out to be a misconception, to say the least. There’s a wide variety that can suit just about anyone.
Come one, come all. Here’s the best wine for people who don’t like wine, distinguished not just through flavor notes, but from a low price to a little higher for that special occasion.
The 10 Best Wines For People Who Don’t Like Wine
1. Barefoot Refresh Moscato Spritzer
A common problem with wine is the bottles just being too darn large. You’re compelled to finish it in a week or less, lest the flavor runs off without you. No pressure, right?
The comparatively low pressure of beer cans has now been combined with the rich flavors of wine. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find an alcohol niche growing faster than canned wine (besides low-cal light ales).
This peach spritzer from Barefoot Cellars has been a huge favorite of mine this year. It’s delightfully bubbly, sweet without being sugary, and best of all? You can’t taste the alcohol whatsoever.
My mother and friends all adore this brand, making it my default when I want to treat someone special after visiting the store. Running at $7 for a pack, this is an affordable price matched with a delicious, crisp taste. You can find the Barefoot Refresh Moscato Spritzer at Total Wine or your local grocery store.
2. Barefoot Fruitscato Peach
You can never go wrong with a bottle of Moscato. Barefoot’s the go-to wine for people who don’t like wine, their brand bridging the gap nationwide with fizzy mouthfeels and tart flavors.
It goes even further than a fun night, to boot, as white wine is an accessible gateway into the world of wine at large. White grape varieties often boast lighter bodies and more delicate flavors than the heavier notes of red wines, such as cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo. Who says you can’t multitask?
I always keep a bottle of Moscato or two to supplement a Netflix session. They’re great at room temperature and even better cold. You can find the Barefoot Fruitscato Peach at Total Wine for an affordable $6.
3. Pop + Fizz Sparkling Rose
Rose was always an interesting wine type for me. It has a lovely sunset color and a very distinctive taste, one I really have to be in the mood for. When I am, though?
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Pop + Fizz Sparkling Rose is a canned rose wine with a strong lean toward the juicy, playing with sweet and soft for a result that feels like biting into a ripe fruit.
The best wine for people who don’t like wine includes going against many of the barriers of the classic bottle. Not only do you have the convenience of a can (no cork necessary), you have a smaller size and a lower price. It’s a win-win-win.
At $4 a can, this is a very affordable purchase that can be tucked away for a camping trip or a personal reward after a hard day’s work. You can find Pop + Fizz Sparkling Rosé at Total Wine or Safeway.
4. Firefly Ridge 2017 Pinot Grigio
If you want a little more wine to share with a friend? Firefly Ridge is the place to start. This wine was a gift from my roommate last year, the bottle of which still sits on my kitchen counter as a reminder to buy it again.
It boasts not just the signature white grape of pinot grigio, but a deliciously gentle, pear-like aftertaste. It’s sweet without falling into candy-esque notes, just the right balance for a new wine drinker that wants to circumvent the strong kick of some wine bottles.
The mouthfeel leans a little toward the dry side, too, though not so much you can’t still appreciate the ripe flavor. It pairs perfectly with a salty or savory snack, so remember to bust out your charcuterie board alongside your wine opener.
5. Wagner Riesling Ice Wine 2017
Thanks to Firefly Ridge and Townshend Cellars, rieslings have become a solid staple on my wine rack. Their juicy, bright flavors are a beloved compliment on a warm, summery day. They’re perfect wine for people who don’t like wine.
Wagner is a brand I’ve considered trying, both for their accessibility and the tasty gamut of flavors on display. The Wagner Riesling Ice Wine 2017 is a classic white wine with strong apple notes, with an additional pop of honey treacle. S
weet tooths will reign supreme here, followed close behind by drinkers still trying to avoid that alcoholic tang. It’s not nearly as crisp and dry as Firefly Ridge, though, so take that into account before clicking that purchase button.
Running for a solid $30, this is a dulcet toned bottle just begging to be pulled out for a special occasion. You can find the Wagner Riesling Ice Wine 2017 at Total Wine.
6. Witching Hour Red Blend 2015
Want to try a red wine that doesn’t turn you off to the concept of wine entirely? The red blend is a solid stepping stone for the delicate palette of the beginning wine drinker.
Red wine for people who don’t like wine needs to straddle the line between tart, but not sour. Sweet, but not sugary. Robust, but not so strong and smoky it makes your nose hairs curl.
This medium-bodied red blend has many classic flavors found in pinot noir, including cherry and vanilla, but is soft enough to sit comfortably among merlot.
Yet another example of how you don’t have to break the bank in order to enjoy good wine. In my experience, I’ve never had to go beyond $20 or $30.
You can find the Witching Hour Red Blend 2015 at Total Wine for an affordable $8.
7. Prophecy Red Blend
Let’s take another look at the red blend. While these sometimes garner a reputation as cheap compared to their more individualistic counterparts, they’re a wonderful counterbalance to many of the traits that turn beginning wine drinkers away.
You no doubt have come across Prophecy during a grocery store browse session. Their packaging remains among the most brilliant I’ve ever seen, blending the characteristic pastels of art nouveau with the splashy patterns of romanticism.
I’ve tried their pinot noir in the past, a solid introduction, and their red blend remains one of their most popular selections. It combines the best of several red wine varietals in one beautiful bottle: you get the rich raspberry and cherry classic to the pinot noir grape with just a hint of spice to keep from getting too acidic.
At $10 this is an affordable bottle that will dazzle your wine shelf or kitchen counter. You can find the Prophecy Red Blend at Total Wine or your local grocery store outlet.
8. 14 Hands Merlot
What can I say, I just have to promote my local wine businesses. This Washington-based winery is a grocery store staple with a lovely logo and a wide selection, giving you the opportunity to dabble in several varietals without breaking the bank.
14 Hands offers a high quality at a decent price point. I’ve tried their canned wines in the past (in fact, they were my first foray into the niche) and their bottled wines are high on my list. Merlot is a softer red wine variety for those with a gentle palette, famed for its blend of plum, blackberry, and blueberry notes.
14 Hands Merlot follows along this old path with a pop of chocolatey mocha, creating a finish that dances just shy of a dessert wine. Buy this if you want to steer clear of too sweet and too strong with your plate of pasta.
You can find 14 Hands Merlot at Total Wines or your local grocery store for an affordable $10.
9. Quinta Das Carvalhas 10 Year Tawny
How about a wine that’s not too sweet and not too sour? This luscious sounding dessert wine sounds like a mouthwatering experience from beginning to end.
With a medium body and a semi-sweetness that doesn’t suck in your cheeks, Quinta Das Carvalhas 10 Year Tawny is a Portuguese wine I’ve got to try.
Its primary flavor notes are caramel and toffee, topped off with the characteristic toasted tartness of raisin that I personally enjoy in many of my coffee beans.
You can also find the Quinta Das Carvalhas 40 Year Tawny if you’re craving a little more age to round out your flavor notes. A general rule: the older the wine, the stronger the flavor.
This $30 bottle would be an unforgettable special occasion to share over Zoom. You can find the Quinta Das Carvalhas 10 Year Tawny at Total Wines.
10. Buttercream Frosting Chardonnay Reserve
Part of being a wine fan is accepting you don’t know it all. I’ve only recently heard about the buttercream chardonnay variety, something that sounds brilliantly unique.
I’d love to have this with a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream. Perhaps with a hearty meal of pot roast and potatoes. While buttercream is the primary flavor note, it also has vanilla and pear notes not unlike a riesling.
With a buttery mouthfeel to top things off, it’s a great gift idea for the upcoming holiday season. Even better, each can is just small enough to keep you from feeling that full-bottle guilt that comes with classic wine packaging.
At $18 this bottle wavers between affordable and a special occasion, particularly for its very unique flavor notes. You can find the Buttercream Frosting Chardonnay Reserve at Total Wine.
The best wine for people who don’t like wine still depends on your unique tastes.
What one person may find absolutely delicious could be the worst thing you’ve ever tasted. While some may sneer at the idea of canned wines or red blends, others may find them a useful starting point to get into the culture. This is exactly what makes wine so enjoyable: how easily it compliments all the little details that make us who we are.
If you or someone you know is thinking of getting into wine for the first time, consider linking them to this list. Until then, what got you into wine?