• Kevin A. Ball

3 Wine Secrets that Make You Look Like an Expert

Updated: May 15, 2020

You don’t need to study for years and years to appreciate wine and look good doing it. Here are three best tips for making sure you are treating your wine with respect and enjoying every drop.

Let’s be honest, when it comes to wine, everyone wishes to have a lil’ more ‘swag in their step.’ Even when I go to Masterclasses and trade-only tastings there’s always someone trying to prove how knowledgeable (or lack thereof) they are. Whether you’re new to drinking wine, an avid amateur, or a certified professional, we all desire that feeling of growth & confidence from an amazing swirl, smell and sip of extra special vino. But with desire of the unknown, comes fear and intimidation, which freezes our desire to learn, explore or even share our passion with wine. Here are a few friendly (and easy) tips to bring a little swag to your social wine-sharing game.

20/20 rule: Getting wine to the best drinking temperature.

Pull a white wine out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you want to drink it. Wine that’s too cold will hide all of the best flavors and aromatics and won’t allow you to experience everything it has to offer. 20 minutes is just enough time to take off the frigid chill of the refrigerator so your wine will be it’s most expressive and enjoyable. This is actually true for food as well, colder food will have less flavor and taste so chefs often have a heavier hand with salting colder foods than hot dishes.

For a bottle of red wine, you can throw it into the refrigerator for 20 minutes before you want to drink it. It’s a common myth that red wines should be drank at room temperature and just a little bit of cooling off allows the flavors to blend so your bottle really shines. We aren’t saying to store it in the fridge and drink it completely chilled, but think “cellar temperatures”. (If your wine is temperature-controlled at 57 degrees, like a wine fridge, no need for this rule). Psssst….for a quick fix, you CAN throw a few ice cubes into your red wine glass, stir stir stir, then fish them out in 20-30 seconds. Did a wine guy just suggest that?!?! Mhmm. I did. It’s ok. Calm down. No need to be snobby, peeps.

Treat your capsule correctly: Getting rid of that pesky foil.

Many moons ago, the foil capsule on top of your wine bottle used to protect the cork & wine from pesky rodents. Today, they are more for show, than for functionality, so let’s make that bottle look nice while drinking it, shall we? This little attention to detail shows your audience that you care about what you’re serving them. Take the knife from your corkscrew and cut underneath the second ridge in a circular motion. Once you have gone all the way around, you can easily remove the foil cap.

Now go on. Be a maverick. Lead the way and show that we don’t have to decimate the tops of our bottles by ripping away the foil or hacking right through it with your corkscrew.

Swirl and smell: Avoid clichés.

To really take in all your bottle has to offer, you need to swirl and smell your wine! Swirling releases the aromas. Once you have swirled for a couple of seconds, go ahead and smell the wine in your glass. Most professionals will repeat this several times even before tasting your wine. When you are swirling and smelling, notice the color and any aromatics that you pick up. What you really want to avoid is talking about the “legs” of the wine (how it drips down the side of the glass). The legs are actually fairly irrelevant and uninformative. No one in the industry talks about the legs so if you do, it’s sure to cause snickering behind your back.

Our Wine 101 party theme is a great time to learn your wine fundamentals and get all your questions answered. If you have a pressing wine question, please ask it in the comments. There are no stupid questions, except for the one you didn’t ask well unless you are drunk… then you will probably ask a lot of stupid questions.


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