Perhaps you are just starting out on your wine journey. If so, you may want to know more about wine and the etiquette surrounding it.
Don’t worry. we are here to help. We have collected our top 12 tips which you can keep as your guide.
1 – Collect, Compare, and Select
The best way to begin is to buy a selection of different wines and you will find that there are many out there. If you don’t know if you are going to prefer white wine or red, buy varieties of both.
Popular white wines include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling, and reds include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.
Try varieties from different countries as wine is produced all over the world nowadays.
There may be differences between the same varieties produced in different countries. Then, of course, there are rose wines, dessert wines, sparkling wines, and fortified wines.
Try some of each. I’m not telling you to try them all in one week!! Take your time and savor them.
As you are trying them, make a list of the pros and cons of each wine. Once you have tried a wide selection, it’s time to decide which ones you like the best. Make a list so that you can go back to it when going out to buy wine.
If, say, you liked a Chardonnay from France, you might then try a Chardonnay from California. They will be similar but may have some different characteristics.
2 – Do Some Research
It’s a good idea to do some research about wine. Read up about the different varieties and even the brands.
You can easily do this on the internet but there are also many excellent books about wine that you can purchase if you prefer to have a hard copy.
These are the things you should look for.
1 – Wine Types. The six wine types are red, white, rose, sparkling, dessert, and fortified wine.
2 – Wine characteristics. There are 5 wine characteristics you need to look out for, and these are tannins, sweetness, acidity, alcohol, and the body of the wine. This will help you to tell the difference between the wines.
3 – Get to Know Wine Etiquette
If you learn wine etiquette, you will look like a professional when you are out enjoying a glass of wine in a restaurant or bar. In addition, these tips will enhance the enjoyment you get from your wine.
The first thing to consider is how to hold the wine glass. You should hold it by the stem because if you hold it by the bowl, you may warm the wine.
Then swirl the wine around the glass. This helps to aerate the wine which brings out the flavors and aroma of the wine.
The next step is to smell the wine. This gives you an idea of how the wine will taste and also tells you if there is something wrong with the wine.
When you come to drink the wine, take small sips from the same position on the glass to avoid getting lip marks all over the rim.
When you come to clinking glasses which is a common practice, clink them bell to bell rather than rim to rim as this reduces the risk of breaking the glasses.
You should look the other person in the eye when you clink glasses as it is a personal moment, wishing the other person well.
When you start drinking the wine, try and keep the amount of wine in your glass the same as your friends.
It is not good etiquette to down your wine in one go and it probably won’t do you much good health-wise either. Wine is to be savored not gulped.
4 – Join a Wine Club
Perhaps you are under the impression that wine clubs are for wine connoisseurs but this isn’t the case.
Joining a wine club will introduce you to new wines and enhance your wine journey. More often than not, you will be given notes about the wines you are shipped, and you will get good discounts.
It is a great way to try high-quality wines without breaking the bank. If the wine club is attached to a winery, you will also get other benefits such as complimentary wine tastings.
5 – Attend Wine Tasting Events
Many wineries offer wine tasting. You will be presented with a flight of 5 – 6 wines to try and can purchase bottles at the end of the tasting.
You will generally have a knowledgeable member of staff telling you all about the wines. Sometimes, they will serve food that pairs with the wine.
When each wine is poured into your glass, you should look at the color and clarity first. Then, holding the glass by the stem, consider the viscosity of the wine.
The more droplets there are on the sides of the glass, the higher the alcohol content.
The next step is to smell the wine to get an impression of how the wine will taste. Swirl the wine to aerate it and then you can take a sip. First, roll the wine around your mouth to savor the flavors, and then you can drink it.
Between each wine pour, make sure that you swill the glass with water so that the flavors of different wines don’t mix.
6 – Choose Your Signature Wine
By this time, you should know which wine you like the best. This can be your signature wine and one you always have at home and order when you go to a bar.
If you like both red and white wine, you can choose your favorite from each.
A signature wine also helps bartenders and servers remember you. You could even ask for ‘the usual’!
Don’t rush when choosing your signature wine. Ensure that you’ve tried enough wines before you decide which you like best.
7 -Choose Glassware Carefully
You don’t need to buy the most expensive glasses although the more you pay, the better a glass you will usually get.
Perhaps buy expensive glasses for special occasions while you can get reasonably priced glasses for when you are at home relaxing.
When you do come to buy the glasses, ask yourself these questions.
- Will it enhance the quality of the wine?
- Will the glasses last?
- What are the glasses made of?
- Will I feel happy using this glass?
There are different glasses for different types of wines, and you should do some research on this. For example, a big bowl is best for drinking red wine as it needs more time to aerate.
It is best to get wine glasses with a stem so that you don’t have to hold the bowl and change the temperature of your wine.
8 – Hold the Glass in the Right Way
It is important to hold your glass correctly. We have already said that you should hold it by the stem. Doing this will also help to avoid spilling the wine. It is easier to spill if you hold it by the bowl.
When you hold the glass by the stem, hold it between your thumb, pointer, and middle finger. Your other 2 fingers will then rest on the base of the glass. This will ensure that you don’t spill wine or warm the wine.
9 – Store the Wine in the Correct Way
It is very important to store your wine properly otherwise it could spoil even if it isn’t opened. You need to consider the temperature of where it is stored, the lighting, and any vibration.
When it comes to the temperature of the wine, some bottles can be stored in the fridge, in particular white, sparkling, and rose wines. However, red wines should be stored at temperatures between 45F and 65F.
Lighting is also important. Wine is best stored in a dark place. If you are lucky enough to have a cellar, it is the ideal place to keep your wine. Just don’t keep it in bright sunlight, even indoors.
The vibration of certain appliances can also affect the quality of your wine. If you have an older fridge that vibrates, it won’t be the ideal place to keep your wine, though if you have a newer model, it will probably be all right.
10 – Pair Your Wine With Food
What makes your wine experience more enjoyable, is to have food that pairs well with it. You may not want to spend a lot of money trying out different foods, so we suggest that you do some research on the Internet.
Just ask what foods go with a particular wine and it will come up with a list of choices. It’s as simple as that.
You will find that generally red wine pairs well with red meat while white meat pairs with white meat and seafood but there are always exceptions. For example, lamb, although red meat, can sometimes be paired with white wine as long as the wine is full-bodied.
If you are hosting a dinner party, your guests will appreciate it if you pair the right wine with your food.
11 – Read the Wine Labels
A wine label holds important information about the wine. It can tell you about the grapes used, the acidity or sweetness of the wine, the alcohol content, and food pairings.
12 – Don’t Stop Exploring New Wines
Even if you have decided on a signature wine, don’t stop exploring different wines. It’s highly likely that there are other wines out there that you will like. This is why joining a wine club is a good idea as you will be sent different wines to try.
Hopefully, this article will help you to discover wine and embark on your wine journey. Keep these tips by your side to start with but it won’t be long before you have got the hang of it. Always research if you’re not sure about anything.
The internet is a great tool and is right at your fingertips.