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Top Wine Etiquette Tips

Proper wine etiquette doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, we try our best to make our content education and entertaining. We share our most best wine etiquette tips from Dr. Lee that you can use for different occasions, from how to cheers to how to taste wine at a restaurant.

Tip #1: How to Cheers

DON’T: When you cheers with the wine glass, make sure that you don’t clink the rim of the wine glass as it might break. The top part of the wine glass is the thinnest.

DO: Cheers at the base or bowl, the widest point of the glass. If you do it properly, you should hear the lovely sound of the bell.

Tip #2: How To Hold A Wine Glass

DON’T: This is a crucial wine glass holding etiquette. Something that many people get wrong. We see these on movies and TV all the time. We wish that there was someone to tell them not to hold their wine glass like that. Remember, don’t hold the glass by the bowl or headspace. You’ll warm up the wine and change the flavors.

DO: Hold it by the stem to keep your fingers off the glass or Base if you have bigger hands.

Tip #3: How To Properly Open A Wine Bottle

This wine serving etiquette tip will save a lot of embarrassing spills, dirty clothes and unhappy faces.

DON’T: When you are opening a bottle of wine for your friends or family, or if you are a server at a restaurant, make sure that after you’ve used a corkscrew to loosen up the cork, don’t pull out the cork with all your might as it might spill the wine on your guests accidentally.

DO: Use your thumb and index to grab the cork and give it a good twist so that it will continue to loosen. This will avoid any wine from coming out of the bottle accidentally.

Tip #4: The Order And Amount Matters When You Pour Wine At The Dinner Table

DON’T: Pour for yourself first and pour unevenly.

DO: Pour for all of your guests and once they have a good amount of wine in their wine glass, pour for yourself lastly. Ensure that when you do pour the wine, the wine is poured equally amongst all glasses.

Tip #5: How To Politely React To Your Wine At A Winery

DON’T: When you go to taste wines at a winery, there’s always going to be wines that you don’t like. When that happens, don’t simply say to your host or hostess, “I don’t like your wines.”

DO: When a wine isn’t to your liking, it would be more polite to say, “Well it’s not to my particular palate or taste.” Many winemakers try their best to make wines. They don’t intentionally make bad wines. You don’t want to tear someone down. Rather, be polite about it.

Tip #6: The Difference Of Who To Serve Wine To First At The Restaurant By Culture

This wine etiquette tip is not inclusive of all cultures, but just a starting reference.

In the Western culture, pour wine for ladies first at the restaurant as they will be the ones that will be tasting the wines.

In the Asian culture, you wouldn’t pour for the ladies first, you pour the wine according to age. The older they are, they would be served first and then in descending order.

Tip #7: How To Taste Wine At The Restaurant

Lastly, Dr. Lee’s best wine tasting etiquette tip is how to taste wine like a pro at a restaurant. When you receive a glass of wine from the sommelier at the restaurant, follow these 3 simple steps.

First of all, pick up the glass and point it away from you. Make sure there is no debris and that the wine is clear. At this point you’re just checking to see that there’s no sediment in there.

Second, it’s time to nose the wine, but before that, hold the base with two fingers, hold the glass on the table and swirl the glass a few times. Dr. Lee likes to swirl it 8 times because he’s superstitious, but it’s really up to you! Then, put your nose into wine glass and nose the wine.

3 things definitely not to smell:

  • Vinegar
  • Wet cardboard
  • Nail polish remover

If you smell any of those scents, it means that your wine has gone bad. Kindly ask your server to change your wine.

Third, now you can taste the wine. Taste a quarter teaspoon of wine in your mouth, swish on both sides of your mouth and inhale. Repeat three times. Let the wine touch your taste buds. Pucker your lips and swallow.

Why do you swish? Why do you take in air? You want to aerate the wine. By puckering your lips quickly, you can establish the length of the wine.

The length of the wine is to describe how long the taste of wine lingers on your palate after you have swallowed.

  • If it lingers on your palate for more than 4 seconds, it is an outstanding wine.
  • 3 seconds, very good wine
  • 2 seconds,  good wine
  • 1 second, ask your server for another glass wine

And that’s a wrap up! We hope that was insightful to you. Let us know in the comments what other wine etiquette tips you’d like to know about.

Try our Wine Etiquette Tips Courses

Want to learn more about wine etiquette and not sure where to start? Check out some of our proper wine etiquette courses, all curated by Dr. Clinton Lee.

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