I wish there was a better answer to this wine question, but trial and error is the best way to go. Start with some basics, maybe one white and one red. Try to pay attention to what you like and don’t like about each one; consider writing it down in a cute-but-practical wine journal you keep near the bar. That information can help you narrow down what you should try next, and with the help of a good wine shop or restaurant somm you’ll get to something you enjoy pretty quickly.
Need? This is one of those wine questions that is easy to answer: just a wine opener of some sort and a glass, any glass. But you’ll want to have a good wine opener, like a waiter’s corkscrew, and a couple good all-purpose wine glasses. As you learn more and your palate becomes more refined, you may want to add a decanter and maybe an aerator of some sort, but none of that is really necessary.
At this point, you’re not collecting wine. You’re buying bottles to drink and find out what you enjoy. More important at this stage is how much you should be spending on each bottle. Ask your local wine shop to recommend some wines that are very typical of their varietal at around $20-25 per bottle.
One word: automation. That notch allows the labeling machine to rotate the bottle when the label is applied. It’s not good or bad or a sign of quality.
There are many different types of wine closures, of which corks are one, and then there are different kinds of corks. In this image, I think cork 1 (going from left to right) is an agglomerated cork, which is made up of chopped up bits of cork. Corks 2 & 5 are diam, which is a type of agglomerated cork with some additional steps in the process. A lot of people like diam corks for their balance of consistency with natural look and feel. Corks 3 & 4 are foam corks, an entirely synthetic substance made to look like real cork. Cork 6 is a regular natural cork.