It's the time of year when many people who don't usually drink much wine are faced with making wine purchase decisions. Maybe you're expected to bring a bottle to a holiday gathering or you are participating in a gift exchange and are trying to find a "decent bottle" of something that doesn't break the bank.

Non-wine drinkers are faced with a dizzying variety on store shelves. It can almost feel like you're in a foreign country, trying to decode a different language when browsing the wine displays at the grocery store. Cabernet Sauvignon? Chiraz? Pinot Grigio? Sparkling wines? There are so many choices and price points.

Red wine in a glass and ripe grapes on gray background, top view
Roxiller
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A recent Google Trends analysis declared Riesling the #1 wine in Montana.

Reports like this from The Waycroft company sometimes make me scratch my head. They analyzed data from Google Trends to see what type of wines people are searching the internet for in all fifty states, and according to the data, the most popular wines in Montana are Rieslings.

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Image courtesy The Waycroft, used with permission
Image courtesy The Waycroft, used with permission
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Really? Riesling?

Even a very casual wine drinker like myself was somewhat skeptical of the claim that Rieslings are the #1 wine in Big Sky Country. Maybe it's the most Google-searched wine by Montanan's who don't normally drink wine? My wife calls this sweet, easy-to-drink variety "church wine" because it apparently tastes like the wine they serve at Mass.

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Talk to a pro when it comes to wine.

If the wine aisle is too overwhelming, the best idea is to visit a wine shop where knowledgeable staff can point you in the right direction. I called City Vineyard and spoke with store manager Ashely Neutgens. When I asked her about Rieslings allegedly being the most popular wine in Montana, she laughed.

Neutgens said that in Billings the most popular wines sold on their shelves are typically full-bodied reds, cabernets, and other dryer wines. A trend she's noticed this year is more people are purchasing imports, like Italian wines, "super Tuscans" and French pinots.

Bottom line: drink what you like. If you're not sure, ask for help. You might discover a new favorite. You can see the favorite wine variety in each state HERE.

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