If you’ve recently become passionate about wine, you know that there’s plenty to learn. Whether you want to up your wine game to impress a certain someone or just heading to a tasting with a group of wine connoisseurs, you will know a thing after you learn these fun wine tricks and tips.
Use these tips to build your knowledge and, most importantly, have fun. Wine is meant to be enjoyed. But based on its complexity, the world of wine can take years to master. No one becomes an expert overnight, but following these 11 fun wine tricks will make you sound like you’re well on your way.
1. Hold your wine glass like this
The last thing you want to do is handle your wine glass by the bowl. Sure, it may seem pretentious to hold your glass by the stem or base, but to those who take wine seriously, this is a big deal — and in reality, it makes a lot of sense.
When you hold a glass by the bowl, you can quickly influence its temperature. Those who go the extra mile to ensure your wine is served at an optimal temperature will surely notice if you’re holding your glass incorrectly. You’ll earn extra points for doing it right.
2. Keep Your Ears Open
Sip your wine and listen to others. What notes are they picking up? Can you relate? Think back to what you learned about the wine tasting process.
3. When all else fails, say “interesting.”
Don’t know what to say about the wine you’re tasting? Swirl your glass, sniff the wine to take in its aromas, and then say, “interesting” — you can’t lose here, as no one can dispute this.
4. Add “expressive” to your vocabulary
You can only say “interesting” so many times, so to mix it up, use the term “expressive” here and there. For example, if a wine has a complex aroma, use the word “expressive”!
5. Speaking of aromas, always smell your wine
Wine aromas add so much to each sip, and each wine is unique, making tasting events so enjoyable. Research shows between 75% and 95% of what we commonly think of as taste comes from our sense of smell.
So, before tasting, smell the wine. You don’t need to comment on your thoughts but make a mental note. Later, you can inquire about the wine or look it up to see how close you were. As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to identify even the most subtle smells.
Just remember, some wines are much more fragrant than others. For example, Viognier is the world’s most aromatic grape. This 2017 Viognier offers apricot, ginger, white flower, and peach aromas. It doesn’t get much better than that.
6. Spitting is more than okay — it’s encouraged
Go against everything you’ve ever been taught about spitting because when you’re among wine lovers, spitting isn’t rude. You can carry on without getting tipsy when you spit out the wines you’re tasting. After all, wine tasting events focus on the “tasting” experience.
7. Know words associated with certain types of wine
Do you love Chardonnays? If so, you may want to keep words like “creamy” and “buttery” in your back pocket, ready to use when appropriate. For a Syrah, words such as “fruity” and “jammy” will make you sound knowledgeable.
Need a little help with your wine vocabulary? Be sure to read this: Wine Terms New Wine Drinkers Should Know
8. Decant reds
If you’re hosting a tasting or dinner party, you’ll need a few practical props, and a decanter is one of them.
Although there are select times when you might want to decant whites, decanting is mainly reserved for reds. The idea is to let certain wines breathe. You’ll look like you know what you’re doing while enhancing the wine’s aroma and flavor. It’s a win-win!
If you’re decanting an old wine (a wine that is 20+ years old), decant immediately before serving. Otherwise, you can serve most reds one hour after decanting them.
Read more: How and When to Use a Decanter
9. Pour three fingers’ worth
When you’re hosting, know how much to pour. Unless a guest requests otherwise, the three-finger pour is the perfect amount of wine to achieve optimal aeration and flavor. Plus, you’ll have the extra room in your glass to swirl the wine like a pro.
10. Keep a journal
Are you going on a wine outing to practice your fun wine tricks? If so, bring your journal. Journaling provides an excellent way to track the wines you love, taking note of their key characteristics. Remember these five steps with each new wine you try: sight, swirl, smell, sip, and savor.
11. Learn the basics of wine pairings
Pairing wine with food is a whole other topic of conversation. However, there are some basics to remember. You should pair wine and food based on their weight in most cases. For example, a light-bodied wine will often go well with light foods. So, a Pinot Grigio pairs nicely with summery salads, fish, and chicken, whereas a more full-bodied wine like Syrah goes perfectly with beef, grilled lamb, or smoked eggplant.
Here are a few great resources:
It’s Time to Find Your Favorite
If you plan to “fake it ’till you make it,” there’s no better time to start exploring different wines to determine your favorites and expand your knowledge. Hopefully, this fun wine tricks guide will point you in the right direction.
Sweet Oaks is proud to offer exquisite wines from Temecula Valley, where the climate and soil yield wines worthy of hosting a dinner party. Browse our selection of wines or schedule your next tasting today!