Wine 101 is an educational page that tries to take some of the mystery out of buying, serving, and enjoying wine. If you have a question that you don't see answered or explained on this web site, then please email it to me. I'll include it here with my answer (I'll only use first names). Thanks!
Q: Are corks better than screwcaps?
A: No, screwcaps are better at protecting wine from contamination when being bottled.
Q: Are there really rules when it comes to food and wine?
A: Yes! White wine with fish and poultry, and red wine with meat, is an excellent tried-and-true rule. However, as your knowledge of different wines expands, you can begin to make your own rules.
Q: What's the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?
A: Champagne is sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France. All other wine with bubbles are sparkling wines.
Q: What makes a wine 'organic?'
A: The most common label term you'll see concerning the word organic will be referring to organically grown grapes (no herbicides or pesticides, etc). However, a wine can also be made in an organically certified winemaking facility (limits on the use of chemicals in the wine).
Q: How many kinds of wines are there?
A: There are more than 2,000 varieites of wine grapes around the world, most belonging to a single species: Vitus vinifera. However, only several hundred are commonly made into commercial wine.
Q: What does the word 'reserve' mean on the label?
A: In the U.S. it has no meaning, so ignore it. Only in some European countries does it have a legal meaning regarding length of time of aging.
Wine Q & A
May 2012 Topic: Aging Wine
Q: Should I age (lay down, cellar, etc.) the wine I buy?
A: Most wine does not benefit from aging more than a couple years. In fact, aging can cause wine to become less enjoyable.
A: Because aging allows air to enter the bottle and react with the wine in a bad way. Air oxidizes wine causing it to eventually turn to vinegar. With a few exceptions, winemakers make their wine to be enjoyed when released for sale.
Q: But I've always heard that wine becomes much better when aged, sometimes for decades.
A: That's mostly a myth. People like to brag about their old wines and, in truth, wine that's 20 or 30 years old is pretty rare. But only certain wines 'stand up' to aging. The better Bordeaux, Italian, and Napa reds are generally made to be more tannic and structured. These wines have 'backbone' and this property gradually dimishes with age (exposure to air) thus making the wine more drinkable.