Wine 101: How to pick a good wine out of shelves and racks of choices

By Marshanna Hester

May 1, 2013 Updated May 1, 2013 at 10:32 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- It's estimated 100 million U.S. adults drink wine at least every two to three months.

Nancy Jedlicka has one glass of red wine every night with something to eat.

She doesn't drink it for leisure, but instead for her digestive system.

"I wish I could prove that this actually has the health benefit," she said. "I've been a tea-totaller my whole life. In other words I don't drink at all, anything."

Regardless of why you're indulging, Hy-Vee's Wine and Spirits Manger OJ Slavish says wine is meant to be fun.

But the shelves of bottles, brands and grape-based varieties can be overwhelming for people.

"They don't want to pick something wrong especially for a gift or dinner," he said. "They want to pick something that's going to be great, but they're intimated by the fact they haven't tried all of these."

The easiest place to start is looking at wine ratings, a number between one and 100.

Slavish says anything over 80 is excellent and the price is irrelevant.

"Outside of our department, we have crates with wines rated 90 points and above that are under $20," Slavish continued.

He says Chardonnay, the strongest and driest white wine, is the most popular in the U.S. The medium-bodied red wine of Merlot is a close second. Moscato, a sweet white, is also becoming a favorite.

It's a sophisticated lifestyle Slavish says everyone can enjoy.

"Men and women are both into wine," he said. "The millennial generation seems to be picking up wine faster than my generation X."

The science behind wine making isn't the same for wine drinking.

Slavish says its all about taste and what you like. And if you're not sure, start with how you like your coffee.

"If they take it black, we start with something a little dry. If they take it sweet, then we start with like a Moscato or Riesling."

He says a box of wine is just as good as a bottle, only it lasts longer.

In next week's Wine 101, learn the five S's of tasting wine and how to pair it with food.