How to Serve Wine Properly in 9 Steps

Wine drinkers can be very particular about the way their wine should be served. Especially when it comes to fine dining, wine serving is an art to be mastered. If you want to learn how to serve wine properly, there are certain steps and procedures you should follow. Here are nine steps to teach you how to serve wine the proper way:

1. Ensure the temperature is correct

Many people believe that white wine should be served cool and red wine should be served at room temperature. This is a common misconception. Serving wine at the correct temperature, however, is very important for enhancing the flavours and scents in it. Sparkling wine should be served ice cold (4-10°C/40-50°F), white wine should be served cold (10-15°C/50-60°F), and red wine should be served cool (15-20°C/60-70°F)

2. Provide the appropriate glass

Different wines are served in different sized glasses. The reason for this is that the different shapes actually affect the wine differently, and having the right glass can bring out the wine’s good qualities. Depending on whether the wine is white or red, and whether it is light-bodied or full-bodied will indicate what type of glass should be used.

3. Show off the wine

It is customary to present the wine to the person who ordered the bottle on their right-hand side. Hold the bottle with the label out, facing the person who ordered the bottle and say out loud the vineyard, year, grape, and region of the wine. This assures the person who ordered the wine that they are receiving what they ordered.

4. Before pouring

After the guests have been shown the bottle, the server should wrap the bottle in a white, folded, linen napkin. This ensures that the body heat from their hands does not affect the temperature of the wine.

5. Give them the cork

It is customary to provide the guest with the cork. Some feel it to make sure it is not dry, others sniff it, inspect it, or do any combination of these things. This is to help them identify if the bottle has been corked – which makes the wine taste bad.

6. Let them taste

To allow the guest to ensure that there are no faults or flaws with the wine – such as being corked – customers are also able to taste it first. This way they know they are not wasting their money on an expensive bottle. The server is to pour a small sip into a glass which the guest can sniff and taste to approve its quality.

7. Ladies first

The proper order in which to serve the wine is to serve the ladies first clockwise around the table, then the men ending with the host of the supper, even if the host is a woman. Each person’s glass should be poured to the same level, and the bottle should be left on the table.

8. Don’t drip

In order to avoid dripping wine while pouring, the server should turn the bottle counter-clockwise as they are finishing up the pour. It will allow the bottle to catch any drops that would have fallen, ensuring the table cloths remain clean, and ensuring that no wine drips on any of the guests. While pouring, the server should avoid allowing the bottle to touch the lip of the glass.

9. Maintain

If you have purchased a wine that needs to remain chilled, they should be left with a bucket of ice in which to place the bottle. However, do not place the bottle in the bucket. Letting the bottle sit and sweat on the table allows more flavours to become present. The guest can place the bottle in the bucket if he or she feels it is necessary. Even though the wine is on the table, it is best if the server returns to refill glasses as they become empty.