Wine Etiquette

I was perusing through Joanna Goddard’s blog last week for some design and photography inspiration and came across this post. Because I’m a nerd about these kinds of things, and maybe because I just unlocked the “Wino” badge on Foursquare (visiting this little gem in Downtown McKinney was the winning check-in), I knew I had to share these fun tips with you. I love the illustrations by Gemma Correll, too… quirky yet to-the-point.

I’m not a stickler for rules and etiquette when it comes to a casual glass of wine with my friends, but it’s fun to be aware of how to behave should I attend a more formal dinner party or take my dream trip to Napa (for which I am currently accepting applications for fellow tasters and designated drivers). Alrighty then, here we go.

1. Fill red wine glasses 1/3 full, white wine glasses 1/2 full and sparkling wine 3/4 full.

2. Twist the bottle at the end of pouring a glass of wine to prevent drips (and to give it a flourish!).

3. Cheers! When clinking glasses, make eye contact with the other person. Otherwise, according to French superstition, you’ll risk seven years of bad luck. You also should clink glasses individually with each person at the table without crossing anyone’s arms.

4. If someone is toasting you (your wedding, your birthday, your general awesomeness), don’t take a sip. Just smile and look humble.

5. Always hold your wine glass by the stem. Some people mistakingly think you only need to hold white wine by the stem (so you don’t warm up the wine), but experts say you should hold red wine by the stem, too, so you can see its color and clarity, as well as to avoid smudging the glass with your fingerprints. Otherwise, wine snobs might call you a “bowl grabber”!

6. On the table, your wine glass goes to the right of your water glass.

7. While taking a sip, you should politely look into your glass (and not at another person, if you’re in the middle of a conversation).

8. The host’s duty is to make sure glasses stay filled. “My eyes go to empty glasses immediately,” wine expert John Thoreen says. “It’s a real radar thing for me.”

9. Or, happily forget all the tips above and just eat, drink and be merry!


{P.S. A few more tips I’ve picked up:}

– Before your first taste, swirl your wine in your glass and sniff it. It allows the wine to breathe and you the opportunity to notice is color, clarity, notes and legs (the thicker the streaks are in your glass, the higher the alcohol content).

– It’s appropriate for the sommelier to give the cork to the person who ordered the wine… I suppose this is for people who have the ability to determine proper aging and smell of a wine by examining the cork… I am not one of these people. I appreciate it since I collect corks and use them in fun DIY projects.

– Ladies should discreetly lick their lips or the rim of their wine glass to prevent their lipstick from smudging the glass (another great tip from Joanna).

*Tips 1-9 and images via A CUP OF JO blog; Illustrations by Gemma Correll


One thought on “Wine Etiquette

  1. Excellent post Tara.
    I’m a guy, so hopefully I’m qualified to give some advice to the fellas. Want to show some class and at the same time help a lady out? Learn how to properly open a bottle of wine … yea, the ones that actually have a cork (lol). I don’t care how “perfect” or “relaxed” everything else is, leaving half a cork in the bottle or having tiny pieces of cork floating in the wine does give an impression about you … an impression most gents want to avoid regardless if they want to admit it or not.

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