Pouring the perfect glass of wine seems like a simple task, but many people don’t realize that there are several ways to pour wine that can make the experience different for everyone.
Whether you’re pairing your wine with dinner or enjoying it at the end of the day, you want to make sure that you’re pouring properly so you can get the most out of your glass of wine. These tips on pouring the perfect glass of wine will help you serve your guests, or just yourself, in style!
8 Steps in Pouring the Wine
Use a wine aerator or decanter
Decanting red wine in a traditional decanter can help bring out its flavor and make it taste better. How? Decanting allows oxygen to penetrate and soften tannins, which is what gives wine its dryness.
Red wines usually have more tannins than whites, so using a decanter or aerator will improve any bottle of red wine; white wines don’t typically need a decanter as they tend to be much less tannic. If you do want to use one for a white, try selecting one that has a large surface area.
Always use a proper glass
wine glasses are made for different styles of wine. A white wine glass and a red wine glass, for example, will both leave you with a terrible-tasting sip if you use them for something other than their intended purpose.
Always use a proper glass; some wines should never be served in anything other than a specific type of glass. Wine glasses should hold no more than 13 ounces (350 ml) if they’re to be used for reds and 10–12 ounces (300–375 ml) if they’re to be used for whites.
The reason? The bigger a wineglass is, the warmer it gets—and the temperature impacts your taste buds.
Consider mixing some ice with white wine
One common mistake when serving white wine is to pour it at room temperature, which makes for thin and unexciting glass. If you want your guests to be able to appreciate your wine, chill it before pouring it.
Aim for about an inch of ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, then pour them into your glass; as they melt slowly over time, they’ll cool down your white wine without watering it down.
This way, you won’t need to open another bottle just so guests can enjoy yours more easily.
A little bit of water can enhance the flavor
For instance, if you’re drinking an oak-aged red, it’s best to add just a little bit of water to open up and enhance flavors. Too much water will dilute your wine and completely ruin your drink.
Likewise, if you’re sipping sparkling wine or white wine with high acidity (like unoaked Chardonnay), adding some water can bring out more flavors.
One simple trick is to take a mouthful of wine before pouring it into your glass—this gives you an idea of how much water to add. When swirling your glass, remember: It’s all about aeration.
Hold your wine glass by its stem, never by its bowl
The bowl of a wine glass picks up other aromas and flavors. If you must hold it by its bowl, make sure you don’t smell or sip until you’ve picked it up again by its stem.
Never swirl the wine in a wine glass: Swirling puts oxygen into your wine and oxidizes it, speeding up how quickly it will spoil.
Sip reds before whites: Many people believe that white wines are best when chilled and reds served at room temperature, but both white and red wines are better at room temperature, so pay attention to your preferences.
Stand up while drinking your wine
As much as we’d like to believe that wine is best enjoyed while sitting in front of a crackling fire with a good book, recent studies show that consuming your vino while standing might be beneficial.
Researchers found that people who drank red wine while standing experienced higher blood levels of antioxidants—linked to heart health and brain function—than those who drank red while seated.
This is because when you sit, your arteries tend to narrow slightly, constricting blood flow; when you stand, they relax and expand again, allowing more significant amounts of antioxidants to enter your bloodstream. In other words: Your white (or red) will taste better when you take it standing up!
Sip and swirl your wine before taking a drink
With a rich and complex wine, it’s okay to taste before you spit. Tasting is essential to enjoying your wine—you don’t want to throw back a great bottle without tasting it!
Swirl your glass to release the subtle aromas, then take a sip and roll it around in your mouth before swallowing. This will allow you to detect more flavors than if you just swallow immediately after taking a drink.
Since red wines require longer exposure to air (if they’re not allowed to breathe, they can become flat), make sure that when you pour, you leave plenty of room at the top for them to breathe. White wines should also have some headspace so that they don’t become bitter from oxidation.
If you must hold your glass by its bowl, do so with two hands
First, hold your glass by its stem or base. If you need to hold it by its bowl, be sure to do so with two hands in order to reduce any chance of dropping it. You can even slip a napkin under your hand if you feel uneasy about holding a fragile wine glass as you pour.
Be careful not to put too much pressure on one side of your wine glass either—that could cause it to break and splatter liquid everywhere!
Common mistakes while holding wine glass
The two most common problems with glassware is that it’s either not clean or too hot. Be sure to carefully rinse your glassware with warm water before pouring, and make sure you do it quickly.
Most people think cold wine should be poured into a room-temperature glass but in fact, while that can be true, if you’re having a rich red that might not be best.
The wine’s flavor compounds will stay much more intact if there isn’t any change in temperature between when it was bottled and when you drink it. If you want to pour white or rosé at a table temperature of about 60 degrees (not frozen), go for it!
In theory, it’s not that difficult to pour a glass of wine. Just pull out a fresh bottle, add an appropriate amount of time for both breathing and aging, and dump it into your favorite stemmed glass.
In practice, however, things can go wrong very quickly if you’re not careful. Tannins from excess stems and seeds can be left in your glass when pouring; sediment from aging can collect at the bottom of your bottle; bad corks will leak bacteria throughout bottles they’ve come into contact with.
There are lots more things that can go wrong as well – but hopefully now you’re better equipped to recognize them if they do! For more information about wine itself or how to choose a nice bottle for whatever occasion (or just your own taste preferences), visit my profile!