Wine Drinking Basics

Picking a Wine
With so many types out there, picking the right wine can seem a bit daunting. A good rule of thumb is to pair a wine with what you’re eating. White wines are best paired with chicken, most fish and alfredo-based dishes. Eating a dessert like cheesecake or creme brulee? Try a Riesling or Moscato, sweet white wines are best with these cream-based desserts. Eating a little heartier? Pair a red wine with foods like steak, lamb, chicken parmesan and chocolate-based desserts. Wines have three basic qualities: acidity, sweetness and bitterness. The goal is to find a wine that best combines these three qualities to your liking. Read more about selecting the perfect wine at:
Opening a Bottle of Wine
Whether your bottle is a simple screw-top or corked, you want to make sure you open your bottle of wine correctly.

Screw-top bottles are becoming increasingly more common, but knowing how to properly uncork a bottle is becoming a lost art, some say. To open a bottle of wine that has been corked, you must first get a corkscrew. The first step is to completely remove the covering over the cork. Then, twist your corkscrew into the center of the cork until only one coil is visible at the top. Finally, set the lever on the corkscrew onto the lip of the bottle and begin to pry the cork out carefully. For more detailed instructions, and step-by-step photos, visit

Tasting a Wine
When tasting wine, it’s important to remember the 5 S’s: see, swirl, smell, sip and spit.

See: You want to evaluate the color and clarity of the wine. Try looking at the wine against a white background to ensure the best quality.

Swirl: Swirling your wine in the class prior to tasting it allows oxygen into the wine. Oxygen is important to wine because it aids in releasing esters that contain the wine’s aroma. The more esters released from the wine, the more pronounced the aroma will be.

Smell: Smelling the wine is an important step in wine tasting. Fully insert your nose into the glass and take a deep breath in. Then, move the glass away from your nose for a few seconds before bringing it back. Take a series of regular breaths. This will help heighten your senses and allow your brain to process the wine’s aromas.

Sip: When tasting wine, you do not simply drink it. Take a sip large enough to coat your entire tongue. If you make a small opening with your lps and suck air into your mouth, you will release more esters. The esters will send the aroma back into your nose, which enhances taste.

Spit: Spitting is not required, but when at a large tasting event, it can be helpful to prevent yourself from becoming intoxicated. Simply spit out the wine after you have taken a sip to fully taste the wine.

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Properly Pouring Wine

When pouring wine for a guest, first make sure it is chilled to a desired temperature. Hold the bottle in your right hand with the label facing your guest. Make sure the bottle’s neck does not touch the rim as you begin to pour the wine into the glass. Fill the glass halfway, or one-third full if the glass is large. To prevent the wine from dripping, turn the bottle quickly one quarter with your wrist. Tilt the bottle upward and then wipe the top of the bottle off. Read more about pouring wine at

Using the Right Glass

Some experts believe you should use various different glasses when drinking wine. There are various different types of glasses that can be used for a variety of red and white wines. While different glasses are believed to be beneficial to different types of wine, having different glasses is not required. Some suggest using whatever glasses you feel comfortable using or have the best experience with. To read more about using the right glass, visit


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