1) If it doesn’t say on the label, what grape variety is the wine made from?
2) How long will the wine keep?
3) Should it be chilled or decanted?
4) Will the shape of the glass affect the taste?
5) What foods complement the wine, or is it best to drink the wine without food?
If you head into Pete’s Quickie Mart, they’re not going to know this stuff. (Probably.) A reputable wine store should.
Most large liquor stores or markets have their wines shelved by classification. Go to the wines you love, and then experiment with a new one. Look at the year of the wine. Whites are best when they are young.
Buying from a winery? The advantage is that you usually get to taste and decide what really knocks your socks off. You’ll also find out about the growing conditions from the source, snap some photos, and have an all-around good time. (Especially if the winery has food pairings.)
Sometimes people expect wine to cost less when they buy it from the winery than at the store. That’s very rare.
Enjoy the experience of tasting at a winery!