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Let’s Talk Wine Etiquette: What To Serve, Where and When

NEW  |  AUG 2, 2023


When it comes to wine etiquette, it can be quite daunting especially if it's your first time diving into it. With so many different rules, it’s hard to tell which ones are a must to follow, and which ones are long outdated. But not to worry, we have you covered in this blog post where we will guide you through the ceremony of wine etiquette and outline the basics of what you should know when it comes to all things wine.

From selecting the right wine to knowing the best serving temperatures and the serving rituals that come along with it, we’ll discuss it all; and whether you choose to follow all or just some of these guidelines is completely up to you. Because we believe the most important part of drinking wine is enjoying a glass with good company. Everything else is just an added bonus. 

So, let’s break down the basics so you can navigate the world of wine with confidence.

Selecting your wines 

Wine has long been associated with sophistication, celebration, and good taste and whether you're hosting a social gathering or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, understanding wine etiquette can enhance the experience for both you and your guests. 

When it comes to choosing the right wine, several factors should be considered. The occasion, the menu, and the personal preferences of your guests all play a vital role when choosing the bottles for the evening. We’d always suggest having a variety of wines available so you can cater to all your guests as some may only drink red while others white. To cover all preferences consider having a bottle of each and maybe even a Rosé, especially in the warmer months, for your guests to choose from. And when celebrating it’s always a good idea to have a bottle of bubbly on offer.

Pop into Woolworths to browse a selection of wines and bubbles at a variety of price points. A big misconception about wine is that it needs to be expensive to be good but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You can pick up some absolute beauties at Woolworths for under R100, and you would never even know it unless someone pointed out the price. So get ready to browse a selection of varietals and blends and see what catches your eye. 

Serving temperatures 

The temperature you serve your wine at can enhance its flavours and aromas ensuring you get the most out of your bottle. Generally, white wines are best served chilled, while red wines are served at room temperature. It’s important to note though that room temperature can vary and most homes are warmer than the ideal serving temperature. A quick fix for this is to pop your bottle of red in the fridge for 15 - 30 minutes before opening. White wines on the other hand can chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.

Serving rituals 

The ceremony of wine begins at the serving with a few rituals and techniques that can elevate the experience for your guests. Firstly, always present the bottle to your guests before opening it. This allows them to take in the full experience of the wine starting from the look and label while also giving them the opportunity to find out what varietal and vintage they will soon be tasting. This adds an element, especially for the wine connoisseurs, of anticipation and appreciation of the bottle before them. Secondly, when pouring wine, the technique is to hold the bottle by its base to avoid smudging the glass and leaving fingerprints on the label. Because we all know there are going to be photos taken of the bottle especially if it's one to remember. 

When pouring wine, only fill the glass one-third, leaving space for the wine to breathe and your guests to have fun swirling it if they choose to without all the spilling that’d come with a brimming glass of wine. 

Lastly, it’s always a fun idea to talk about what you see, taste, and smell to get the conversation going and see how each bottle of wine is received differently by your guests. Wine is subjective after all so don’t get disheartened if the first bottle is not a winner. 

What to serve it in 

The choice of glassware can influence the wine-tasting experience so it’s a good idea to invest in quality wine and bubbly glasses. If you’d like to serve your wines in glasses specifically for each variety, then generally a larger bowl is preferred for red wines as it allows them to breathe and release their aromas, while a smaller bowl is preferred for white wines as it helps it to maintain its cooler temperature for longer. And of course, champagne and MCC should be served in flutes to preserve their bubbles so you can slowly sip and enjoy them at your own pace. 

If you find you are out of wine glasses or have yet to buy your own, these Somerset Mall stores have got you covered.  So there’s no need to Google, “home goods store near me“ before embarking on your trip. Yuppiechef and @home offer selections of glasses that will help take your wine experiences to the next level. 

Pairing your wines 

The right wine and food pairing can elevate both the flavours of the dish and the wine itself. You may have noticed this already but typically lighter wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio complement seafood and salads while bolder reds such as Syrah and Cabernet Franc go well with red meat and rich sauces. If you’re looking for a versatile wine varietal that goes with most dishes then a Rosé is your best bet. And if you’re looking to wow your guests we’d recommend pairing fried and fatty foods with bubbles as this is a winning combination and a secret of top chefs. 

Final words 

The last thing we’ll touch on is the ambience of the evening. It’s always a good idea to set the scene with a few beautiful servers and some ambient lighting from candles. Pop into Coricraft to pick up a few dishes and decor to really uplift the setting and prepare your guests for a wonderful evening of wining and dining.

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