Red wine is traditionally served with beef, lamb and game but there are no hard and fast rules and nowadays reds are served with fish, poultry and even with desserts - choose a wine that you like and serve it either at room temperature or try chilled red during the summer for a refreshing change.
For a light and fruity choice look for wines from Beaujolais in France, the Veneto region of Italy or the Valdepeñas area of Spain.
Light reds sold in Waitrose include Waitrose Beaujolais 1999, Waitrose Valpolicella 1999, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1995 Vigneti Casterna and Torneo Reserva 1996 Valdepeñas.
For a full-bodied, strong flavour choose reds from Bordeaux or Burgundy in France, Tuscany in Italy or Australian reds made from Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Look for Waitrose Special Reserve Claret 1996/7, St Emilion 1998 Yvon Mau, Red Burgundy Pinot Noir Bourgogne 1998, Waitrose Chianti 1999, Chianti 1998/99 Melini, Hardys Stamp Shiraz Cabernet 1999/2000 and Jacob's Creek Shiraz/Cabernet 1998/99.
Uses: Red wine is often used in cookery to add flavour to sauces, soups, gravies and casseroles and also as the basis of a marinade to help tenderise and flavour a joint or steak. Keep any wine left in a bottle for 3-4 days and cork it tightly to use in cooking, you can also freeze wine for up to 2 months and then thaw it out to use in cooking, but it will not be suitable for drinking.
Rosé wines are becoming increasingly popular. Most rosés start off being produced like a red wine and are in contact with the grape skins for a variable amount of time. The amount of time determines the depth of colour of the wine.
Rosés are fresh and fruity and can be dry or medium. They are good served well chilled as a refreshing drink or to accompany Chinese, Japanese and Thai food, especially seafood. Try Waitrose Rosé d'Anjou 1999.
Sparkling wine from all over the world including France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand are becoming increasingly popular, white, rosé and red varieties are available.
The most popular grapes used to make sparkling wines include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. Over 20 sparkling wines are sold in Waitrose including Waitrose Cava Brut and Waitrose Saumur Brut.
The most famous of all sparkling wines is Champagne, the classic dry fizz from the northern region of France of the same name. Sparkling wine can only be classed as Champagne if it is made in the region from white Chardonnay, red Pinot Noir or red Pinot Meunier grapes.
Waitrose stock over 20 different types of Champagne to suit all tastes and pockets, including Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Non Vintage, Waitrose Brut Non Vintage, Waitrose Brut Vintage 1990 and Waitrose Blanc de Blanc Non Vintage.
Sparkling wines are an ideal choice as an aperitif and are traditionally served to propose a toast at a celebration. Sparkling wines also make a delicious accompaniment to fresh seafood dishes. Serve it well chilled and in flutes - tall thin glasses with straight sides, so that the fizz is preserved.
White wine is generally best served lightly chilled - put it in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving to allow it to cool sufficiently. Dessert wine is best served, as its name suggests with puddings but dry or medium white can be served as an aperitif or with any type of food - it is really a matter of personal preference.
Dessert wines are characteristically sweet and should complement the flavour of the pudding they are served with. Choose a Sauternes or Barsac to serve with desserts based on egg and cream such as mousses. A glass or two of a Muscat goes well with fruit-based puddings.
Waitrose sell a selection of dessert wines including Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Château Guiraud 1996 Sauternes and Château Climens 1996 Barsac.
Uses: Dessert wine can be used to add a distinctive sweet flavour to a variety of fruit puddings, in trifles and syllabubs.
A traditional choice to accompany a wide variety of fish and chicken dishes, there are hundreds of dry whites to choose from. For a light, fresh wine choose a Muscadet, Saumur or Sancerre from the Loire region of France, a Spanish Rioja or an Orvieto or Pinot Grigio from Italy.
The following are all available in Waitrose: Waitrose Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine 'Sur Lie', Saumur Les Andides 1999, Sancerre 1999 La Pierre Blanche, Fouassier, Cune Monolope Rioja Blanco 1998, Orvieto Classico Secco 1999 Cardeto or Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 1999 Fiordaliso.
For a refreshing long summer drink, mix white wine with sparkling mineral water, soda water or lemonade and lots of ice.
For a richer white with stronger flavours choose a wine made with Chardonnay, Sauvignon or Sémillon grapes. Try Waitrose Chilean Chardonnay 2000 Central Valley.
Uses: Dry white wine is a popular addition to savoury sauces to serve with chicken and fish, it also adds flavour to chicken and fish soups.
Often served with pork or veal, look for the following if you prefer a medium white: Gewürztraminer, Riesling or Vouvray. Waitrose sell a wide variety of medium dry white wines including: Waitrose Alsace Gewürztraminer 1998/99, Waitrose Vin Blanc Demi-Sec and Vin de Table (medium).
Uses: Medium white wine can be used in cookery to flavour soups, stews and sauces. Poach pear or apple slices in a little medium white wine, brown sugar and cinnamon for a simple dessert.
A fortified wine flavoured with ginger, citrus fruit and a blend of spices. Waitrose sell a wide range, including Waitrose Ginger Wine.
Uses: Ginger wine can be drunk straight or mixed with an equal quantity of whisky to make the classic cold remedy a Whisky Mac, it can also be included in a variety of cocktails.
Mulled wine is red wine flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and rich sweet fruit. Waitrose sell ready-mixed mulled wine.
Uses: Mulled wine is a popular winter drink and is served warm.
To store: Keep in a cool, dry place.
To use: Heat mulled wine very gently either in a pan or in a microwave for 30-50 seconds until warmed through, add sugar or honey to taste if required and serve with slices of orange or lemon.