How To Drink Wine Properly - Drink Wine Like A Pro
by Jennifer Kristensen on Nov 12, 2023
It doesn’t take expertise to order a glass of wine, but as many beginners quickly find out, enjoying the wine is another challenge entirely. Worse yet, it’s almost impossible to imagine what could make drinking wine properly possible.
If you want to drink wine properly, you need to learn the proper steps to take so that every glass is a guided learning experience. In this article, we’ll explain all the steps you need to know to start drinking wine like a pro.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Recommendations
When starting out with wine, it can be challenging to understand the difference between the hundreds of bottles you have to choose from. If you want the best wine experience, you should ask for recommendations for your first few bottles whenever you’re uncertain.
When you ask for a wine recommendation, you should generally start by telling the wine specialist what flavors you enjoy, what occasion you intend to use the wine for, or what foods you want to pair the wine with. Once they have this information, they can provide the perfect bottle. With time, you’ll become more familiar with new flavors and names as a result of these recommendations.
2. Pour the Right Amount and Temperature of Wine into the Best Glass
After you’ve selected your wine, the next step to drinking it like an expert is pouring the right amount into the correct type of glass. While this might seem like a small step, doing this correctly will amplify all the best characteristics of the wine you’ve chosen.
Before pouring your wine, you should ensure that you’ve chilled the wine to the correct serving temperature — otherwise, the flavor will be much worse. If you have a sparkling wine, serve it in the range of 40 to 45°F. Serve white wine between 45 and 55°F, rose wine between 50 and 60°F, and red wine between 55 and 65°F.
To start, you should select a glass. If you’re drinking red wine, you should choose a glass with a large and wide bowl. This glass allows the red wine to aerate and the aroma to fill the glass. White wine should be poured into a glass with a long stem to keep the wine cool. Sparkling wines should be poured into a champagne flute or tulip to maximize the carbonation.
After you’ve found the correct glass for your wine, you should prepare to pour the correct amount. Red wine glasses should be filled one-third full, allowing you to swirl and aerate the wine. White wine glasses should be half-full, leaving ample room for the aromatic notes of the wine to settle in the glass. Champagne glasses should be filled to three-quarters full.
3. Hold Your Wine Glass the Proper Way
There are a lot of myths about proper wine etiquette, and unfortunately, one of the most commonly perpetuated myths is that the way you hold your wine glass doesn’t matter. In fact, the way you hold your wine glass can significantly influence the flavor of the wine and how well you’re able to enjoy it — so it’s essential to ensure you’re doing so properly.
You should hold your wine glass towards the middle of the stem using your thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger. If you want more stability, you can hold the upper part of the stem and reach your ring and pinky finger towards the base. If you want to keep your white wine cooler or have more leverage to swirl your wine, you can hold the glass by the bottom of the stem.
4. Swirl Your Wine and Enjoy the Aroma
Once you’ve got a handle on the wine glass, it’s time to appreciate the wine itself. Swirling the wine will allow you to amplify the aroma and fully appreciate all of the notes within it. You should gently raise your glass and swirl it as you smell the wine several times, taking in and enjoying the notes.
Appreciating the aroma of the wine before you drink it will leave you with a much deeper understanding of the wine’s character. Some notes in the wine are much more prominent in the aroma than in the flavor, but after you’ve smelled the wine, you won’t have any trouble appreciating the full profile of flavors in each wine bottle.
5. Sip and Savor Your WIne
After you’ve established a good idea of your wine’s flavor by swirling and smelling it, you’re ready to start sipping it. The most important thing you can do is sip. Wine isn’t meant to be quickly gulped down, and you won’t be able to fully appreciate the flavor of the wine if you get into the habit of doing so.
Make sure that every drink of wine you take is a small sip, and allow yourself to hold the wine in the center of your mouth and allow your taste buds to experience the wine before swallowing it. As long as you take your time, you’ll be able to taste all the flavors in your glass of wine. If you’re pairing the wine with food, you can take sips between bites of food.
6. Pair Your Wine with the Right Foods
As mentioned, one of the best ways to savor your wine is by sipping it between bites of the right food — but what foods pair with wine? As it turns out, you can follow a few rules of thumb to make good wine-pairing decisions.
- Pair red wine with rich foods like red meat, bitter chocolate, and tomato-based sauces.
- Pair white wine with light dishes like fish, white meat, salad, or fruit.
- Pair rose wine with fatty foods like cheese.
- Acidic wines are best paired with foods that are fatty or sweet.
- Bitter dry wines are best paired with sweet foods.
- Sweet wine is best paired with acidic foods.
- Acidic foods should be paired with similarly acidic wines, or the wine will taste flat.
- Sweet foods should be paired with sweet wines, or the wine will taste unpleasant.
- Fatty foods should be paired with acidic wines, or the wine will taste flabby.
- When in doubt, you can always pair food and wine from the same region of the world.
There are also a few common combinations to avoid. Here are the worst pairings to avoid making.
- Don’t pair bitter food with bitter wine.
- Don’t pair light wines with heavy meats.
- Don’t pair acidic food with soft wine.
- Don’t order seafood or delicate dishes with excessively dry wine.
- Don’t pair spicy food with a high-alcohol wine.
It can be challenging to know how to drink wine properly as a beginner. As long as you know the basic steps to follow, however, it won’t be long before you find yourself enjoying wine just like the pros do.