10 Things Every Wine Drinker Should Know

Or, what not to forget on your next wine night.

For the uninitiated, drinking wine can be intimidating, but really, it's an experience that should be enjoyed. To put you at ease though, we gathered the most basic etiquette tips for when you're at a tasting or when you're simply sharing a bottle of good wine with great company. 

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Here are 10 etiquette tips for the next time you're enjoying a glass, or two:

Avoid using any scent during a tasting.

Put down the perfume, lotion, hair spray, or anything that's scented if you plan to go to a tasting or class. Even the faintest odor can disturb your fellow tasters' experience. Not to mention, it will interfere with detecting a wine's aroma.

Don't hesitate to ask the sommelier about the wine.

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After all, the sommelier is there to make sure you have the best experience. Discuss what you're looking for, your budget preferences, and even what you ordered as the sommelier will probably have the perfect suggestion to go with your dinner.

Don't be afraid to send wine back when flawed.

Ever wonder why the server shows you the cork and lets you try the wine before pouring a whole glass? It's so that you can spot flaws and faults in the wine. If a wine is corked, it will smell like mold or wet cardboard. You should also look out for cork taint, oxidation, and heat damage. Simply not liking the wine, however, isn't reason enough to send it back.

Don't smell the cork when presented. 

Bottom line is, you'll be able to tell if a wine is corked just by looking at the, well, cork. Save the sniffing and tasting for the test pour.

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Hold the glass by the stem.

There's plenty of ways to properly hold a wine glass. What they all have in common is the fact that you shouldn't be touching the bowl of the glass. This is done to prevent changing the wine's temperature.

Mind the temperature of the wine.

Before serving wine, make sure it's the ideal temperature. Red wine should be slightly chilled to enhance the flavor and make its alcohol level more seamless. For a white wine, it should be chilled but not too cold as this can mask the flavor and aroma.

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Always sniff, swirl, and sip subtly.

Sniffing and swirling is part of the experience, but you never want to draw attention to yourself. To do so, avoid being over the top and making a show of yourself.

Drink from the same spot to reduce marks. 

Messy glassware might be the last thing on your mind during a dinner or a tasting. It's better to be mindful of leaving unsightly mouth marks on your glass—especially if you're wearing lipstick.

Fill your glass less than halfway.

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It's best to know how to properly pour wine in case you find yourself at a gathering where drinking is involved. The key thing to remember is to pour and stop less than halfway. When refilling, offer the people around you first before topping up your own glass. 

Be aware of the usual pairings for wine, but don't be afraid to mix it up.

We've all heard of the general rule when it comes to what food to pair with which wine: white with fish and chicken, red with beef and pork. But once you're more confident in the world of wine, mixing things up is sure to round out your experience even more. (Yes, it's allowed.)

. Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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