Wine Stories: The 5 Rules of Wine Etiquette

Wine Etiquette

Wine is a modern beverage, but has its roots in tradition. To fully appreciate your wine and feel confident doing so, there are a few simple trade secrets to know.

From pouring to gifting, these practical tips are designed to enhance your wine experience and knowledge. Etiquette need not be snobby – maintaining respect for the history and culture of wine, along with an open mind and attitude, are the keys to enjoyment for all


When pouring wine into a beautiful wine glass, only fill one third full so that there is enough room to swirl and have fun with your wine. Part of the enjoyment of wine is having the proper glass to let it breathe and maximize its quick lifespan. You can have one catch-all glass for wine (although having different glasses for each kind of wine is always fun). When rinsing your glass do so with wine rather than water and

2. Decanting

Wines that age (like people) develop different characteristics and evolve over time. If you don’t have time to wait though, it is said that putting your wine in a decanter for an hour can make it taste similar to being aged for a year. It is a simple trick. By decanting your wine, the increased contact with oxygen helps to open up the wine for taste and aromas. You can decant any full-bodied red wine, as well as full-bodied Chardonnays (they often taste better when served at the same temperature as you would a red wine). It’s always classy to use a crystal or glass decanter – and rinsing it with a splash of red wine beforehand makes a great wash for the wine about to be appreciated. Feel free to swirl the wine in the decanter.

3. Talk

When talking about wine, do so confidently, but always be flexible to learn new things from others. No one likes a know-it-all, so be open-minded to hear about different wines, aromas and taste profiles. Have humility and consideration with every sip and conversation around the glass.

4. Gifting

Invited to a dinner party? It is always nice to bring one bottle to open and one bottle for the host (to open or put aside for another time). When choosing a bottle for a gift, find a way to make a personal connection, such as a similar name/surname, a place you both traveled, or a varietal you think the host will enjoy. Also, make a connection to the wine on the card you write, or even on the bottle with a special pen.

5. Service

Keep a bottle of white wine in your fridge and other bottles readily available for unexpected guests, dinner pairings (in and outside the menu), and that perfect after work drink. Don’t over serve your guests, but rather pour the correct amount in their glass and get them to hold the stem. Always be responsible and remember to offer water. If you’re tasting wines, serve lightest to fullest. Make sure you taste the wine before pouring full glasses for guests (or allow them to taste) to make sure the wine isn’t off or corked and try to teach your guests about the wine you serve – they will be thankful for the wine and the information they’ve learned.

Wine culture is a blend of tradition, elegance and flare. By talking about wine, striving to learn and grow, and being respectful of others preferences and opinions, you are well on your way in your wine journey.