Wine Appreciation and Etiquette

September 03, 2014  |     |   0 Comment

Image 14My blog focus for the month of August is all about etiquette surrounding what I love most – food, wine and dining!

It’s not a secret that I have a passion for food, wine and travel.  I’ve just returned from my summer vacation in Italy where I lived my passion every day!  I had the opportunity to visit wineries and take part in wine tastings in many different regions of Italy. Through these experiences, I was able to gain additional insight and appreciation for the art and enjoyment of wine, as well as the etiquette surrounding it.

Wine is a beverage that is enjoyed by many at both social and business events.  Whether you are hosting a dinner party, or attending a business meal where wine will be served, it’s good to know a little something about wine and the etiquette surrounding it to enhance yours or your guests’ experience.

1. Let your wine breathe. Allowing your wine to breathe oxidizes the wine which brings out the potential of the flavor. There are several ways that you can do this. You can decant the wine or let it sit in the glass. If you are more anxious or pressed for time, you can also pour it through a Venturi.  This wine apparatus can be purchased at just about any home store.

2. Hold wine glasses by the stem, not the bowl. This allows you to view and swirl the wine properly. Additionally, the heat from your hands changes the temperature of the wine which is something that is definitely not desired. Furthermore, you don’t want to get your finger prints all over the glass.

3. Look at the wine to evaluate the colour and clarity.  When drinking red wine, look for colours ranging from translucent cherry, to deep purple, to brick red.  As red wines get older, they generally fade in colour.  White wine, on the other hand, range in colours from pale straw-yellow to golden amber and they usually darken with age.

4. Swirl the wine.  Hold the glass by the stem and swirl the wine around in the wine glass for a couple of seconds. By doing so, the wine in a wine glass is able to aerate and release its aroma.

5. Smell the wine. To do so, put your nose in the glass and sniff it.  As I have learned from numerous wine sommeliers, wine consists of over 300 different chemical compounds, many of which are identical to those found in fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, and other substances.  Older wines tend to have a more subtle aroma than younger wines.  

6. Taste the wine.  Take a small sip and subtly swish the wine around.  This helps to release the wine’s aroma and coat your whole mouth.  It’s fun to compare the aromas you smelled versus what you actually taste. Determine what you taste – is the wine dry, tart, astringent, sweet, fruity, bitter? Whatever taste a wine imparts, the key to its quality is balance and harmony of all its elements: fruit, alcohol, acidity, and wood (if any).

Like art, we all have different tastes and preferences when it comes to wine.  The most important thing when having a glass of wine is to enjoy the experience.  As Ernest Hemingway stated, “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”   Salute!

Do you have an important business meeting coming up that is taking place over a meal? Want to brush up on your dining etiquette skills? Please contact me to learn about my personal consultation services and how I can help you; or for a complimentary half-hour consultation: or 613-321-5159.

Erin Crotty is a certified and trained expert in Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol from the Protocol School of Washington.

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