The average student's knowledge of wine is lower than a freshman's Franzia tolerance, but a wine appreciation class at Norris will still cost you $110. Luckily, we've compared each wine to the archetypal Northwestern student, so that you can save a buck and become the sommelier your neighborhood wine mom always thought she was.



A trip to the gym to work off your freshman fifteen is a great way to get in shape. But drinking a glass of merlot can lower your cholesterol level and improve heart health, making this red your health-conscious vegan friend. Merlot is full-bodied (meaning it has a high alcohol content, over 13.5 percent) and usually has notes of plum and cocoa. Enjoy a glass at The Olive Mountain on Davis (BYOB) or on the elliptical.

Pino Grigio


Pinot grigio is the graduate student of white wines. Dry and acidic, this wine is perfect for intellectual conversations and college gossip about your recent relationship blunders. Like the TA you hopelessly flirt with, pinot grigio is also crisp, bright and intriguing when enjoyed over a critical debate about dialectical materialism. Perfect for the novice wine drinker, pinot grigio is delicious with a Thai dish from Cozy Noodles & Rice, (also byob) and the perfect atmosphere for a first date (but not with your TA ... at least not until the quarter ends).



Riesling is a sweet white, similar to moscato, and the sorority girl of the wine world. Floral and effervescent with flavors of fruit, it’s aromatic and pairs best with the antithesis of sweetness: spice. Drink a glass of riesling with Indian food and your closest girlfriends, and you’ll be prepared to vanquish the ghost of your ex lover.



Think of chardonnay the way your friend in Medill lectures you about journalism. WWIn the same way a good journalist is smooth with their words yet vigorously investigative in character, they say, chardonnay is velvety in texture and slightly acidic in taste. Also known for being creamy and oaky, chardonnay is best paired with a buttery seafood dish and a copy of The Atlantic, or maybe a serving of humility.

Cabernet Sauvignon


Cabernet sauvignon is your intensely political friend, the student activist and social policy major whose spicy spirit matches the peppery taste of "cab sav." The dark fruit and savory flavors present in a cabernet sauvignon are best accompanied by a beef dish and a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.

Closing thoughts from your resident sommelier: In Evanston, the vendors of affordable and delicious wine are surprisingly plentiful. Trader Joe's sells their famous Two Buck Chuck, an extremely affordable wine (which, contrary to the name, actually costs $2.99 in Illinois) marketed as Charles Shaw Blend. Likewise, Whole Foods hides their $3 wine, Three Wishes, at the back of the store close to the meat section.

When quietly opening your bottle of wine in your dorm room while your RA is on rounds, be careful to not break the cork; winged corkscrews are easiest for amateur wine drinkers, and help to avoid this faux paus.