How To Drink Wine: Guide for Wine Tasting

Learn Wine Tasting Tips, Including Preparation, Opening and Savoring the Flavor

Woman drinking wine

Want to know how to drink wine? Well that's easy--just fill your glass, open up wide, and toss it back--and don't forget to have a bottle of aspirin on hand for the next morning! Any other questions?

Oh, you want to get your nose in it, huh? All right then, listen up, because there are things to know about maximizing your tasting experience -- so you need a guide for wine tasting.  

Here is some basic information you can use to learn how to drink wine:

  1. Prep your wine so that it is at the proper temperature for drinking. There are varying opinions as to what that temperature is for drinking wine, but here's a good rule of thumb: If it's white, chill it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving, but if it's red, serve it at room temperature (unless the temperature of the room is above 70 degrees--in that case, chill it slightly, and invest in an air conditioner).
  2. Make sure that, along with your bottle of choice, you also have a decent corkscrew--corks can be stubborn. And remember, if you're removing the foil seal from a particularly old bottle of wine, it's a good idea to wipe off the top of the bottle to remove any lead residue.
  3. Inspect the cork for any mold or discoloration. If you find any, just make sure it doesn't continue down into the bottle--if it appears to stop at the top, simply wipe it off and proceed.
  4. Once you have removed the cork from the bottle, sniff it. Yes, I'm serious, and no, this step won't invoke that fuzzy, lightheaded feeling--you're smelling the cork to detect any unpleasant aromas that may indicate spoilage.
  5. If your drink of choice contains any sediment, you'll need to decant it. In English, this simply means to pour it into another container through cheesecloth, wire mesh, or coffee filters to remove the offending grit.
  6. Pour yourself a healthy glass and let it stand or "breathe" for a moment, to allow the complexity of the flavors to come through. Depending on what you're drinking, you may want to let it breathe for a bit longer--try an hour for young reds, and 2-3 hours for old, fine reds.
  7. Deeply inhale the scent of your wine, as a good portion of what we perceive as "taste" for drinking wine is really determined by smell.
  8. Take a sip and hold it in your mouth for a moment, noticing the different flavors you detect.
  9. This is the best of the wine tasting tips... Drink up!


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now how do you pick out the flavors?

By James Goetz