Wine Etiquette 101 | How to Properly Serve and Enjoy Wine

When you have an expensive bottle of wine that you have purchased with the understanding that it will be served on a special occasion or part of a special event – you want to get it right! There is always that added pressure of how to get the etiquette of serving it correctly, and that you have everything just perfect. Here we will go through some tips as to how you can properly serve and enjoy wine, not just for yourself but also for any guests you may have.

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Make Sure it’s at the Right Temperature


If you are lucky enough to have a wine cellar, you should never take the wine straight from there and serve it to the table. You need to make sure you have left adequate time for the wine to cool. If the wine is too hot or too cold, it then loses its personality. Typically white wine should be served colder than red wines, however it may depend on the specific bottle.

How to Open the Bottle

You should open the bottle with the knife that you will find hidden within a corkscrew. You should cut open the shell that is found below the curve of the neck of the bottle. Be careful when doing this, the metal can be sharp and cause you to cut. After which, give the neck of the bottle a wipe with a paper towel to ensure there are no remnants or any debris. Then you can put the corkscrew in the center of the cork and remove it.

Decant the Wine

You can serve the majority of wines from the bottle, but some may benefit being decanted. By putting your wine into a decanter – it will remove any remnants from the cork, and it will also give you a much better sense of the aroma. It’s also good practice to try the wine first to ensure it tastes as it should. When you are pouring it, make sure you do it slowly to avoid any spillage.

Food and Wine Pairing


Pairing the right wine with your meal can elevate the dining experience by enhancing flavors and creating a harmonious balance between the food and the wine. Understanding the basic principles of food and wine pairing can help you make informed choices when selecting wines for your meals. Here are some key points to consider when it comes to food and wine pairing.

General Principles for Pairing Wine and Food

To create a successful pairing, consider the following principles:

  1. Match Intensity: Pair light-bodied wines with delicate dishes and robust wines with bold and flavorful foods. For example, a light-bodied white wine like Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with light seafood dishes, while a full-bodied red like Cabernet Sauvignon complements a juicy steak.
  2. Complement or Contrast Flavors: Choose wines that either complement or contrast the flavors in your dish. For example, a sweet Riesling can complement spicy Asian cuisine, while a crisp, acidic wine like Sauvignon Blanc can provide a refreshing contrast to rich and creamy dishes.
  3. Consider the Sauce or Seasoning: Focus on the dominant flavors in the dish, especially the sauce or seasoning. For example, if you’re serving a tomato-based pasta dish, pair it with a medium-bodied red wine like Chianti that complements the acidity of the tomatoes.

Matching Wine Flavors with Food Flavors

Certain flavor profiles in wines can harmonize with specific food flavors. Consider the following:

  1. Acidic Wines: Wines with high acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne, can cut through fatty and rich dishes, balancing the flavors. They work well with dishes like salads, seafood, and tangy sauces.
  2. Sweet Wines: Sweet wines, like Late Harvest Riesling or Port, can complement desserts or spicy dishes by providing a contrast in flavors. They pair well with dishes containing caramelized flavors, tropical fruits, or spicy elements.
  3. Tannic Wines: Tannic red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Barolo, pair well with protein-rich and fatty foods like grilled meats, aged cheeses, or dishes with earthy flavors.

Common Pairing Suggestions for Different Types of Wine


Consider these classic pairing suggestions as a starting point:

  1. Red Wine:
    • Cabernet Sauvignon: Pair with red meat, lamb, or aged cheeses.
    • Pinot Noir: Pair with roasted poultry, mushrooms, or salmon.
    • Syrah/Shiraz: Pair with grilled meats, barbecue, or spicy dishes.
  2. White Wine:
    • Chardonnay: Pair with buttery or creamy dishes, lobster, or poultry.
    • Sauvignon Blanc: Pair with seafood, salads, or dishes with herbal elements.
    • Riesling: Pair with spicy dishes, Asian cuisine, or fresh fruits.
  3. Rosé Wine:
    • Pair with light salads, grilled seafood, or summer vegetables.
  4. Sparkling Wine:
    • Pair with appetizers, oysters, or celebration dishes.

Remember, these are just guidelines, and personal preference plays a significant role in pairing food and wine. Exploring different combinations and experimenting with your palate will help you discover new and exciting pairings that suit your taste. Cheers to discovering the perfect match for your next meal!

Don’t Over Serve

It can be tempting to pour large glasses of wine, when it’s something you have been waiting to enjoy for a long time – but it’s worth remembering that every bottle of wine has 6-12 tasting servings. If you are complementing food with wine, then usually a serving of 180ml would work which would be around a third of the glass. If it’s a flute (for sparkling wine or champagne), fill it 3 quarters of the way to the top.

Once you are ready to drink your wonderful wine, it’s important you hold the glass correctly. Try and hold the stem using your thumb and forefinger and sip.

Don’t use inappropriate glassware


When it comes to wine etiquette, it’s crucial not to use inappropriate glassware. Using the right wine glass enhances the aroma, flavor, and overall enjoyment of the wine. Avoid using mismatched or improper glasses, and opt for appropriate wine glasses designed specifically for the type of wine being served.

Hopefully after reading these handy tips, you should know how to serve the perfect glass of wine.